President Trump abruptly fired National Security Adviser John Bolton, a hardliner who clashed with his mercurial boss over the president’s cozy ties to Russia and North Korea among other geopolitical issues.
In a remarkable tweet, Trump informed the walrus-moustached Bolton that his “services are no longer needed” after just 17 months in office.
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 disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
There was no immediate word on what specifically spurred the impulsive Trump to dump Bolton.
The veteran neoconservative hawk said he had offered to quit Monday night and suggested Trump acted on the spur of the moment. Less than an hour earlier, Bolton had been routinely tweeting about the upcoming 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, "Let's talk about it tomorrow."
Bolton’s ouster came as a shock to many in the White House. Just an hour before Trump’s tweet, the press office announced that Bolton would join Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a briefing.
Bolton had repeatedly signaled that he does not agree with Trump’s bizarre friendships with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. A key architect of the war to unseat Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Bolton also favored a hard line against Iran.
It is unclear if Bolton may have offered to quit in a feud over Trump’s aborted effort to negotiate a deal with the Taliban to end the American war in Afghanistan.
The president had invited the Islamist hardliners to a Camp David summit just days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Trump abruptly scrapped the meeting and declared the talks “dead” after Taliban rebels killed an American soldier in the latest bombing in the 18-year conflict.
Bolton was always an unlikely pick to be Trump’s third national security adviser in as many years, with a world view seemingly ill-fit to the president’s isolationist “America First” pronouncements.
He’s espoused hawkish foreign policy views dating back to the Reagan administration and became a household name over his vociferous support for the Iraq War as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under George W. Bush. Bolton even briefly considered running for president in 2016, in part to make the case against the isolationism that Trump would come to embody.
Bolton voiced caution on the president’s whirlwind rapprochement with North Korea and was denounced by Kim’s allies as a viper seeking to undermine the budding friendship between the dictator and Trump.
He railed against Trump’s decision last year to pull U.S. troops out of Syria and masterminded a quiet campaign inside the administration and with allies abroad to convince Trump to keep U.S. forces in Syria to counter the remnants of the Islamic State and Iranian influence in the region.