Donald Trump just fired John Bolton, his third national security adviser in less than three years. Or did Bolton quit? UPDATED
Predictably, Trump announced his latest decision to dump another of his “best people” on Twitter:
....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
Trump hired Bolton away from Fox News, at least partly because, as the Times put it, Trump “appreciated his outspoken performances.” But as the Times’ TV critic and author James Poniewozik wrote about Trump's recruitment decisions, “Sometimes he would hire people who talked about him on his programs, like Anthony Scaramucci, then fire them when the flesh version disappointed.”
And maybe vice versa. Although Bolton was nearly orgasmic over Trump’s 2017 U.N. speech which threatened North Korea and spoke aggressively toward Iran, which Bolton undoubtedly watched on TV, his war lust was stymied in the real-life administration. From the Times:
The president has continued to court Kim Jong-un, the repressive leader of North Korea, despite Mr. Kim’s refusal to surrender his nuclear program and despite repeated short-range missile tests by the North that have rattled its neighbors. In recent days, Mr. Trump has expressed a willingness to meet with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran under the right circumstances, and even to extend short-term financing to Tehran, although the offer has so far been rebuffed.
A former under secretary of state and ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, Mr. Bolton, 70, never fully subscribed to Mr. Trump’s courtship of Mr. Kim and privately expressed frustration that the president was unwilling to take more meaningful action to transform the Middle East in the service of American interests.
Will Bolton get his old Fox News contributor’s gig back? Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Aaron Blakes writes, "something is fishy" with this so-called firing. He noted that Bolton has flatly contradicted the White House account and claims he offered to resign last night but was told by Trump, "let's talk about it tomorrow." There's every reason we'll hear more about this from Bolton.
(Bolton image via screen grab)