Trump Fires National Security Adviser, Bolton Claims He Resigned

WCBS 880 Newsroom
September 10, 2019 - 12:10 pm
Trump and John Bolton

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WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/AP) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he fired national security adviser John Bolton, saying the two “disagreed strongly” on many issues.

However, moments later Bolton said he was not fired, but instead had “offered to resign.” 

Either way, Bolton's ouster came as a surprise 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.

“I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,” the president wrote on Twitter. “I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration.”

“I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning,” Trump continued.

Moments later, Bolton seemed to tell a different story saying, “I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow.’”

Bolton was always an unlikely pick to be Trump's third national security adviser, 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.

Inside the administration he advocated caution on the president's whirlwind rapprochement with North Korea and against Trump's decision last year to pull U.S. troops out of Syria. He 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.

Bolton succeeded Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who was forced out after failing to form a connection with the president, and Michael Flynn, who stepped down as adviser after 24 days and later admitted to lying to the FBI.

(© 2019 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)