While there was some feverish speculation as to what an impromptu presser at 1:30pm with US Secretary of State Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and National Security Adviser Bolton would deliver, that was quickly swept aside moments later when Trump unexpectedly announced that he had fired Bolton as National Security Advisor, tweeting that he informed John Bolton “last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House” after “disagreeing strongly with many of his suggestions“, in the process ending a tumultuous tenure marked by several setbacks in U.S. foreign policy.
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….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2019
….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
According to sources, while Trump had been growing displeased with Bolton’s belligerent recommendations and overall demeanor (recall “Bolton ‘Deep in His Heart’ Believes Trump Is a ‘Moron,’ Former Aide Claims“), the tipping point happened when Bolton expressed his displeasure with Trump’s impromptu invitation of the Taliban to Camp David on the week of the Sept 11 anniversary, a peace overture which as we reported over the weekend, collapsed in the last moment.
As with every Trump personnel decision, this one too appears not to have gone off without a hitch, and minutes after Trump’s announcment, Bolton tweeted that “I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, “Let’s talk about it tomorrow.””
I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, “Let’s talk about it tomorrow.”
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) September 10, 2019
It was unclear if they “talked about it”, but Trump’s verdict was clear: “you’re fired”, although as the new Yorker’s Susan Glasser writes, “this is a Trump Admin first, I believe. A dumped official actually disputing the President’s account of the dumping. Will Bolton become the first of the natsec advisers Trump has publicly humiliated to break with him and reveal what has been going on backstage?”
Shorter: He didn’t fire me, I quit! https://t.co/FxdnR4POXn
— Susan Glasser (@sbg1) September 10, 2019
Bolton differs from Trump version of his resignation. “Offered last night without his asking,” he texts me. “Slept on it and gave it to him this morning.”
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) September 10, 2019
Whatever the reason for Bolton’s departure, this means one less warmongering neocon is left in the DC swamp, and is a prudent and long overdue move by Trump, one which even Trump’s liberals enemies will have no choice but to applaud, and speaking of applauding, nobody will be happier than Iran and Venezuela:
Iran, Venezuela right now pic.twitter.com/h8voYvmgDA
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 10, 2019
And while the digital ink wasn’t even dry yet on the tweet with which Trump fired Bolton, the former NSC already issued a veiled threat:
Ambassador Bolton to me just now: “I will have my say in due course. But I have given you the facts on the resignation. My sole concern is US national security.”
— Robert Costa (@costareports) September 10, 2019
As Bloomberg details the often heated relationship, Bolton, 70, joined the White House in April 2018, “bringing an interventionist view into Trump’s inner circle.”
From the outset, Bolton seemed like an odd fit under a president who champions an “America First” agenda. At times, he pursued his longstanding foreign policy priorities, creating tension with top administration officials and the president himself.
Bolton came to the post best known for his ardent support of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq while serving in the George W. Bush administration. He was later was a Fox News contributor and senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
Weeks before joining the White House, Bolton wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing for a preemptive strike against North Korea, only for Trump to instead pursue diplomacy with Kim Jong Un. Bolton said that his personal views were “now behind me” and that “the important thing is what the president says and what advice I give him.” Yet, when Trump made a June visit to the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Korean Peninsula to meet with Kim, Bolton was absent, meeting with officials in Mongolia instead.
While we await more details on this strike by Trump against the military-industrial complex-enabling Deep State, here is a fitting closer from Curt Mills via the American Conservative:
Ending America’s longest war would be a welcome rebuttal to Democrats who will, day in and day out, charge that Trump is a fraud. But to do so, he will likely need a national security advisor more in sync with the vision. Among them: Tucker Carlson favorite Douglas Macgregor, Stephen Biegun, the runner-up previously, or the hawkish, but relatively pragmatic retired General Jack Keane.
Bolton seems to be following the well-worn trajectory of dumped Trump deputies. Jeff Sessions, a proto-Trump and the first senator to endorse the mogul, became attorney general and ideological incubator of the new Right’s agenda only to become persona non grata in the administration. The formal execution came later. Bannon followed a less dramatic, but no less explosive ebb and flow. James Mattis walked on water until he didn’t.
And Bolton appeared the leading light of a neoconservative revival, of sorts, until he didn’t.
And while the overall market yawned at the news, oil quickly dropped as the odds of an Iran war tumbled now that the most aggressive neocon is out.
So has Trump finally learned not to surround himself with belligerent war advocates? The answer will be disclosed when Trump reveals who Bolton’s replacement as National Security Advisor will be.