Trump replaces National Security Adviser with veteran diplomat

politics | Mar 22, 2018 | By Martin Barillas

President Donald Trump announced that veteran diplomat John R. Bolton will replace H. R. McMaster as national security advisor at the White House. Trump announced the move on Twitter, writing "I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor." The president added, "I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on April 9th."  Bolton had been previously considered to serve as Secretary of State, a position held for just over one year by Rex Tillerson.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. suggested this week that leaks from the White House are crimes. “If you’ve got the national security council team leaking to the press, that’s a big deal,” he told reporters at a Heritage Foundation-sponsored event on Wednesday. “Quite frankly, some of the other stuff they’ve leaked is actually a crime,” he added. According to the Washington Post, Trump had been pressured by aides against congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin on the latter’s reelection. The paper claimed that Trump had been given a brief that read in capital letters: “DO NOT CONGRATULATE.” As did Barack Obama, Trump called to congratulate Putin on the Russian’s electoral victory. Meadows said that the leak came from Trump’s national security team, which was headed by McMaster.

Bolton served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bush but resigned because he was deemed unlikely to win confirmation from the Senate in which a newly elected Democratic Party majority took control in January 2007. A Fox News contributor, Bolton is also a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), senior advisor for Freedom Capital Investment Management, and an attorney at the Washington, D.C. law firm Kirkland & Ellis. 

In 2012, Bolton served as foreign policy adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He has been involved with politically conservative organizations, including the National Rifle Association, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Project for the New American Century, Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, the Council for National Policy, and the Gatestone Institute.

Early in March, Bolton appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and was asked by host Tucker Carlson to identify which country presents the greatest threat to the U.S. Bolton said that Iran figures as the most dangerous threat. Carlson asserted that Iran’s power grew because of the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein by the U.S. and allies. “I think you’ll concede that Saddam was the greatest counterbalance to Iran, and they were empowered by his fall,” Carlson said.

When Bolston replied, “I think your analysis is simple-minded, frankly,” a tense exchange ensued. Bolton said, “Life is complicated in the Middle East. When you say ‘the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was a mistake,’ it’s simplistic.” As the exchange became tenser, “I would argue that I’m the one who understands how complicated it is,” Carlson said. “It’s your long experience in foreign policy,” Bolton replied to Carlson. “Better record than yours, I would say,” Carlson shot back. “But thank you, ambassador. Good to see you.” Bolton appeared dismissive, saying, “Sure.”

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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