Trump Taps Bolton to Replace McMaster
Shortly after H.R. McMaster’s resignation as National Security Advisor last week, President Trump announced on Twitter that McMaster would be replaced by former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton.
In his tweet, President Trump thanked General McMaster for his service and added that there will be “an official contact handover on 4/9” with Bolton acting in the position. Trump’s nomination marks the third national security advisor he has appointed since taking office, with Michael Flynn being the predecessor to McMaster. Flynn resigned earlier this year in February from the role, amid controversy surrounding his contacts with Russian officials during Trump’s campaign for the presidency.
McMaster’s departure comes at a time when White House officials are at odds with each other and the president. President Trump has not been shy to criticize McMaster personally and on policy. For example, Trump disagreed with McMaster’s stance on putting additional boots and resources in Afghanistan. The president also privately told other officials that “he does not like [McMaster’s] style.”
Adding onto the recent resignation of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the appointment of CIA director, Mike Pompeo, to fill Tillerson’s role, the addition of Bolton could dramatically shift Trump’s positioning on foreign policy. Known as a war hawk, Bolton has been an outspoken critic of the Iran Nuclear Deal and has been noted to defend his support of the Iraq War.
Bolton’s stance on foreign policy issues could arouse more conflicts within the West Wing in the future. With North Korea announcing that its leadership is ready to engage in discussions with the United States in the near future, Bolton could butt heads with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who has favored diplomacy.
While President Trump has accepted North Korea’s invitation, that could change with Bolton placed into the new role. In an interview with Newsweek, Bolton argued that “twenty-five years of pressure and diplomacy have failed to halt the North’s pursuit for nuclear weapons.”
President Trump’s decision to choose Bolton has raised both criticism and praise from politicians on Capitol Hill. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), said the pick was “good news for America’s allies and bad news for America’s enemies.” He added that the former George W. Bush administration official “has a good understanding of the threats the U.S faces from North Korea, Iran, and radical Islam.”
Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a member of the Armed Services Committee, said, “Pompeo and Bolton are standard bearers for the interventionist neocon foreign policy establishment, addicted to regime change wars, without any thought of the deathly cost or consequence.” Former President Jimmy Carter also added that Bolton’s appointment “was maybe one of the worst mistakes the president has made since being in office.”
Despite the frequent shakeups to Trump’s cabinet and executive team nominees, the President stands that “there will always be change and that I want to see different ideas.” With the North Korea meeting and Iran Nuclear Deal deadline closing in, President Trump will look to consult his advising team to firm up his positioning on domestic and foreign policy.