Let me say here and now….I did not like the ideas and policies that John Bolton spent decades pushing…..and he should have known better than go to work for a person that takes NO advice but his own.
The president has lots to say about Bolton now that he is gone…..
The Hill calls it a “public rebuke of a top aide that would have been extraordinary before the Trump White House”: The president on Wednesday elaborated on his firing of John Bolton in an Oval Office meeting with reporters. Five standout things he said about his former National Security Adviser:
- 1. “He made some very big mistakes.”
- 2. “Frankly he wanted to do things—not necessarily tougher than me—you know John’s known as a tough guy. He’s so tough he got us into Iraq … but he’s actually somebody I had a very good relationship with. But he wasn’t getting along with people in the administration that I consider very important.”
- 3. “As soon as he mentioned that, the Libyan model, what a disaster. Take a look at what happened to Gadhafi. I don’t blame Kim Jong Un for what he said after that. And he wanted nothing to do with John Bolton. And that’s not a question of being tough. That’s a question of being not smart to say something like that.” (Washington Post reporter Aaron Blake notes that comment was made 16 months ago. See this story for more context.)
- 4. “John wasn’t in line with what we were doing and actually in some cases he thought it was too tough what we were doing. Mr. tough guy, you know, you had to go into Iraq.”
- 5. “I hope we left on good stead, but maybe we haven’t,” the Guardian quotes Trump as saying.
- CNN sees Trump as keeping his eye on the prize, and needing Bolton out of his way: “Trump’s first term, while succeeding in traumatizing US allies and causing global disruption, is largely bereft of the big wins the great dealmaker promised back in 2016.” With Bolton gone, “US diplomacy is likely to reflect its principal author even more closely. It will be more impulsive, less strategic, and more geared to creating iconic moments, like the President’s stroll into North Korea with Kim Jong Un.”
- The Wall Street Journal similarly frames Bolton as a now-departed “counterweight” to Trump, and predicts his “exit could remove a barrier to a meeting at the United Nations with Iran’s president later this month, or to talks with members of the insurgent Afghan Taliban movement.”
- Robert Schlesinger echoes that, writing at NBC News: “Bolton had become a foreign policy Dr. No, tamping down Trump’s desire to go for big, showy deals with North Korea, Iran and the Taliban. Whoever replaces him will know to cheer on Trump’s ideas, no matter how ill-conceived.”
Like I have said…I did not agree with much Bolton had to say but at least he was a professional in a White House staffed with amateurs.
Not all conservatives thought Bolton was a good hire for Trump……
It took far too long to happen, but Bolton’s firing is undeniably good news. Bolton is the embodiment of everything wrong with hawkish Republican foreign policy, and his role in the administration has been without question a purely destructive one. I have to admit I didn’t think it would happen. Bolton had prevailed again and again on policy, and despite pushing his own agenda and doing an abysmal job as National Security Advisor he remained in place. Whatever Trump’s reason was for getting rid of him, it was the right decision. Bolton ends his career as one of the worst National Security Advisors in U.S. history. He should never have been hired, but at least he is out of government. Now he can go shill for the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) full-time.
Good Riddance, Bolton
Now we have another “interim” staffer…..
President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, that joy is likely to be shortlived due to the character of Bolton’s acting replacement, Charles M. Kupperman.
Kupperman has been a member of the boards of a number of defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin and Boeing. He served in the Ronald Reagan administration and boasts a decades-long relationship with Bolton.
The rumor mill is working over time with the departure of Bolton and the newest one involves Pompeo….
…administration officials are discussing the possibility of replacing Bolton with his chief rival, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Under this scenario, the country’s top diplomat would absorb the national security adviser role and do both jobs, according to a senior administration official and a source familiar with the possibilities.
That would make Pompeo the second person in history to have both jobs at the same time. The first, Henry Kissinger, was already President Richard Nixon’s national security adviser when he was appointed secretary of state in 1973, and filled both roles for two years.
As a foreign policy wonk I will be watching this situation as the results of the firing of Bolton unfolds. The media likes to state that this is the 4th NatSec adviser in 3 years and they keep emphasizing the point…but keep in mind that them GOP God Reagan had 6 in 8 years….so this is nothing new for a Repub president to go through multiple advisers (that is my history lesson for the day)
“Lego ergo Scribo”