Donald Trump fired John Bolton as his national security adviser and said he had “disagreed strongly” with his top aide. So, another member of the Trump administration has left the White House as John Bolton will no longer work as a national security adviser.
Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, President Trump announced he fired John Bolton, citing disagreements the two had on foreign policy.
“I thank John very much for his service. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week,” Trump wrote. “I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning,” Trump said on Twitter.
The tweet came just one hour after the White House press office said Bolton was programmed to appear at a Tuesday press briefing alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
Asked through the briefing whether he and Mnuchin were shocked that Bolton was fired, given that he was thought to appear alongside them, Pompeo replied, “I’m never surprised.”Bolton, nevertheless, maintains he offered to leave his post voluntarily, tweeting minutes after Trump’s announcement, “I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow.'”
The departure of such a strong hawk raises the possibility that Trump’s foreign policy could now make a dovish turn in the run-up to next year’s elections, in special with respect to Iran.
However, the president’s firing of his third national security adviser in as many years appears to have caught even the White House by surprise.
As we noticed before, Bolton himself added to the confusion, saying minutes after his public dismissal that he had offered to resign on Monday night but that Trump had replied: “Let’s talk about it tomorrow.”
Bolton continued to press his case that he had resigned rather than being fired. He sent out a series of texts including to Fox News presenters on-air as well as the Washington Post, protesting: “I resigned, having offered to do so last night.”
Bolton, known as a fierce infighter, had few loyal allies internally. He had clashed with many senior members of the administration at times, including Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
But he could also build alliances when needed. He worked closely with Pence on multiple issues, including efforts to replace Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, and aligned with Pompeo on encouraging a hard-line stance on China, said a former administration official.
He was one of the loudest hawks inside the West Wing, perpetually skeptical of the country’s adversaries and unafraid of the prospect of military conflict.
Few others in the upper ranks of the administration were as deeply versed in the nuances of foreign policy, avoid that Pompeo will now have an outsize role in filling — particularly when it comes to Iran, China and Venezuela, said the former official.
Most recently, the two had sparred over Trump’s desire to have leaders of the Taliban visit Camp David in the days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to finalize peace talks.
The idea was strongly opposed by Bolton, even as officials at the State Department argued it could move the parties closer to an agreement, officials said.
Bolton’s resignation letter was brief in the extreme.
“I hereby resign, effective immediately, as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. Thank you for affording me this opportunity to serve our country,” the two-line sign declared.
Some National Security Council administrators were caught off guard by Bolton’s firing, finding out about it only when it flashed on TV screens.
Reports over the weekend that Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence disagreed with Trump’s Camp David project were the last straw for Bolton, according to two people familiar with the matter. On Monday, Pence tweeted that the stories were fake but Bolton did not — and that, according to the officials, upset Trump.
One person familiar with the breakdown between them told Trump didn’t want Bolton attending the U.N. General Assembly in New York with him next to this month.
Required if the disagreement over the Taliban talks led to Bolton’s dismissal, Grisham stated: “that there was no final straw.”
“There were several issues,” he continued. “They had policy disagreements.”
But speaking on the situation of anonymity, one official declared Afghanistan “broke open the bottom of the bag” in a relationship that had been eroding. Another official confirmed that a sharp argument over the Afghanistan deal was the final issue that broke the relationship.
The White House is already discussing possible candidates after that Trump fired John Bolton, several sources told CNN.
There are at least 10 names being circulated and there does not appear to be a shortlist at this time.
Trump declared he will make a choice next week but given the President’s unpredictable nature, sources predict that he could choose someone who is not under discussion right now.