President Trump announced this morning that he had asked for (and received) National Security Advisor John Bolton’s resignation. He indicated in a tweet that he “strongly disagreed with many of Bolton’s suggestions” and that other administration officials did as well. He also said he would name Bolton’s replacement next week.
….I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2019
In a brief letter dated September 10, 2019, Bolton wrote: “Dear Mr, President: I hereby resign, effective immediately, as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. Thank you for having afforded me this opportunity to serve our country.”
Bolton, well known for his hawkish positions on foreign policy issues, often found himself at odds with the more dovish Trump. Bolton appeared an unlikely choice from the start.
One positive aspect of the Trump/Bolton dynamic was its ability to keep enemies off balance. Knowing Trump erred on the side of dovishness and Bolton, hawkishness, countries like Iran or North Korea would be left guessing what action to expect.
However, the negative aspects far outweighed the positive.
The recent tension between the two began when the problems with Iran began to escalate in May. After Trump canceled a US airstrike on Iran in June at the last minute, he told a member of his inner circle, “These people want to push us into a war, and it’s so disgusting. We don’t need any more wars.”
Hot Air reported:
A few weeks later, Bolton was conspicuously absent from Trump’s big photo op with Kim Jong Un at the DMZ, having been tasked with a visit to Mongolia at the time instead.
The most hardcore Republican Bolton critic in Congress, Rand Paul, was deputized by Trump in July to try to broker negotiations with Iran. (Paul is already celebrating Bolton’s termination on Twitter today.) More recently reports being bubbling up that Bolton had been sidelined from the peace process in Afghanistan and was being excluded from meetings. Rumors began circulating that his relationship with Mike Pompeo, a Trump favorite, had collapsed, with natsec deputies unsure who was actually steering the diplomatic ship between the more negotiation-minded Pompeo and the more hardline Bolton.
It’s been reported that Bolton was strongly opposed to Trump’s invitation to the Taliban for talks at Camp David last weekend. Trump may believe that Bolton leaked this information to the media.
A White House official told Fox News, “Simply put, many of Bolton’s policy priorities did not align with POTUS.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) spoke to Fox News’ Neil Cavuto today and said, “The threat of war around the world is greatly diminished with Bolton out of the White House.”
Anyway, the unlikely alliance is over. And Trump will name his fourth National Security Advisor next week.
Bolton has served in the administrations of former Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and served as a Bush’s lawyer during the 2000 Florida recount. Bolton also served as a U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006, and as an undersecretary of state for arms control and international security from 2001 to 2005.”
Max Boot, the Washington Post reporter I posted about yesterday (here) who can’t understand why Trump is still in office despite all of his columns and soundbites, weighed in on Bolton’s departure. He can’t seem to make up his mind or he wants to have it both ways.
Boot’s tweet: “John Bolton was bad. His departure might be worse.”
— Washington Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) September 10, 2019
And Seth Mandel, the executive editor of the Washington Examiner, replies:
“The Only Thing Worse Than Bolton Is No Bolton, And The Only Thing Worse Than No Bolton Is Bolton”
The Only Thing Worse Than Bolton Is No Bolton, And The Only Thing Worse Than No Bolton Is Bolton
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) September 10, 2019