The senator, a former Army captain who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, has long admired the general from afar, according to a source close to Cotton. He even submitted his resignation papers to the Army in 2007 partly because they passed over H.R. McMaster for a promotion to 1-star general, this person said. (Cotton later rescinded the resignation to deploy to Afghanistan.)
McMaster flew to Florida and met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, where his appointment was officially announced Monday afternoon. He flew back to Washington with the president on Air Force One on Monday evening.
Cotton, meanwhile, received a text message from Kushner thanking him for putting McMaster on their radar and stating that "he's going to be a great choice," a source familiar with the process said.McMaster wasn't on the White House’s radar for the job until Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), increasingly a trusted foreign policy voice within the White House, called Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner and Reince Priebus early last week and urged them to consider the former combat general, who served in both Iraq wars and in Afghanistan. Cotton's staffers then helped facilitate contact between McMaster and the White House. On Thursday, Cotton received word in a text message from one senior White House staffer that McMaster was on the short list.