John Bolton: Trump’s national security adviser is out



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US President Donald Trump says he has fired his National Security Adviser John Bolton.

“I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,” he wrote.

“I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions,” Mr Trump wrote, adding that a new national security adviser would be appointed next week.

The firing comes after Mr Bolton argued with Mr Trump over the administration’s peace talks with the Taliban.

Mr Bolton, who had served since April 2018, was Mr Trump’s third national security adviser after Michael Flynn and HR McMaster.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told reporters: “[The president] didn’t like a lot of his policies, they disagree.”

She said the president asked for Mr Bolton’s resignation on Monday night, and it was delivered on Tuesday morning.

But moments after Mr Trump’s tweet, Mr Bolton took to Twitter to claim he had actually offered his resignation, but Mr Trump had told him “let’s talk about it tomorrow”.

As the news broke, Mr Bolton texted a Fox New host live on TV.

“John Bolton just texted me, just now, he’s watching. He said, ‘let’s be clear, I resigned,'” Brian Kilmeade told viewers.

In separate tweets with Washington Post reporter Robert Costa, Mr Bolton maintained he had tendered his resignation on Monday night.

“I will have my say in due course,” he said, adding “my sole concern is US national security”.

Just two hours before his departure was announced, Mr Bolton had been due to host a White House briefing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Sources said that the National Security Council, which advises the president, had become a separate entity within the White House under Mr Bolton.

A former senior Trump administration official, who wished to remain anonymous, told the BBC: “He [Bolton] operates separately from the rest of the White House.

According to the official, Mr Bolton did not attend meetings, and followed his own initiatives.

“He’s running his own show,” said the official.

A White House official told the BBC’s US partner, CBS News. “Bolton has his priorities. He didn’t ask the president ‘What are your priorities.’ They’re Bolton’s priorities.”

A former senior administration official told CBS that Mr Bolton’s “his way or the highway” approach infuriated many people inside the White House, including the president.

The anonymous source said the former national security adviser had “got too big for his britches” and “doesn’t play well in the sandbox”.

John Bolton was always an unusual fit in the Trump White House. While he was an animated personality on Fox News – clearly endearing him to the president – he was also an outspoken foreign policy hawk working for a man who campaigned against international adventurism.

Mr Bolton was a strong supporter of the Iraq War, for instance, while the president has called the conflict one of the greatest US military blunders.

On topics like North Korea and Russia, the president’s conciliatory position when Mr Bolton arrived in April 2018 was clear – and clearly contrary to the long-time foreign policy hand. Add disagreements on Afghanistan negotiations and Iran confrontation, and it created an untenable situation.

Mr Trump’s third national security adviser in as many years has been on the outs for some time. He did not join the president at meeting with Kim Jong-un, and phoned-in his objections to a Camp David event with the Taliban while in Poland last week.

There appears to be disagreement over whether Mr Bolton was fired or resigned. One way or another, a change was coming – even if just yesterday, Mr Trump had tweeted that reports of “turmoil in the White House” were created by the “Dishonest Media”.

Mr Bolton had opposed peace talks with the Taliban, which Mr Trump scrapped at the weekend after inviting the group to the US.

The president’s policy drew criticism especially because of its timing, close to the anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks by al-Qaeda, a group that the Taliban had hosted in Afghanistan.

On Monday, Mr Trump announced that peace talks with the Taliban were “dead” due to a deadly car bomb attack by the group that killed one American soldier and 11 others.

According to Foreign Policy magazine, Mr Bolton had argued that inviting a US-designated terror group to Camp David – the presidential retreat outside Washington – would “set a terrible precedent”.

His opposition led to a growing rift with the secretary of state, who appeared on five separate news programmes on Sunday to defend Mr Trump’s outreach to the Taliban.

“If you’re going to negotiate peace, you often have to deal with some pretty bad actors,” Mr Pompeo told ABC.

BBC