[guest post by Dana]
President Trump has fired his national security adviser, claiming that he asked for John Bolton’s resignation last night, and received it this morning:
….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
Minutes ago, Bolton said, whoah, that’s not quite how it happened:
I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, "Let's talk about it tomorrow."
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) September 10, 2019
Anyway, it was inevitable. Eventually, they all leave, whether of their initiative or with a little help…
Clearly, the writing has been on the wall:
Back in May, with tensions rising between the U.S. and Iran, Trump’s Fox buddy Tucker Carlson began taking hard shots at him on the air for his hawkishness. It got worse in June when Trump canceled a bombing strike on Iran at the last minute against the advice of Bolton, among others; Carlson took to telling Fox viewers that Bolton was a “bureaucratic tapeworm” and Trump reportedly lamented to a confidant about his own natsec advisors, “These people want to push us into a war, and it’s so disgusting.” 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. (Ironically, Carlson did accompany Trump, albeit as part of Fox’s team.)
Things seemed to deteriorate from there. 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.)
Bolton was recently sidelined during negotiations concerning Afghanistan, and specifically fear that he might derail plans to negotiate with the Taliban:
As the president’s top aides prepared for a high-stakes meeting on the future of Afghanistan earlier this month, one senior official was not on the original invite list: national security adviser John Bolton.
The attendance of the top security aide would normally be critical, but the omission was no mistake, senior U.S. officials said. Bolton, who has long advocated an expansive military presence around the world, has become a staunch internal foe of an emerging peace deal aimed at ending America’s longest war, the officials said.
His opposition to the diplomatic effort in Afghanistan has irritated President Trump, these officials said, and led aides to leave the National Security Council out of sensitive discussions about the agreement.
Bolton’s influence on the President has diminished over the past few months:
The sidelining of Bolton has raised questions about his influence in an administration that is seeking a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as an ambitious nuclear deal with North Korea and potential engagement with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Bolton, U.S. officials said, stands in opposition to those efforts, but he does so increasingly from the periphery.
“It’s messed up on so many levels that the national security adviser isn’t involved, but trust is a real issue,” said a senior U.S. official, one of a half-dozen who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations.
No word on who will be Bolton’s replacement.
P.S. Bolton’s determined to have the last word on the matter:
"John Bolton just texted me," @kilmeade says live on Fox News, where Bolton was a former contributor. "He said, 'Let's be clear, I resigned.'"
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) September 10, 2019
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)