- Trump fired Bolton by tweet two minutes before midday Tuesday in a dramatic and unexpected move
- He said he ‘disagreed strongly’ with Bolton ‘as did others in the administration’ hinting at internal fallouts between Bolton and Mike Pompeo
- But within minutes Bolton himself tweeted, apparently from the White House’s own network, that he had tried to resign last night and been blown off
- The two had clashed on Iran and North Korea and most recently on peace talks with the Taliban, with Bolton opposing attempts for an Afghan peace deal
- Bolton, 70, had been in Trump’s national security aide since April 2018 after the president dispensed with three-star Army general H.R. McMaster
Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he has fired his national security adviser, John Bolton saying he ‘disagreed strongly’ with him – and was immediately contradicted by Bolton, who said he had tried to quit first.
The president said in a tweet two minutes before midday, and an hour before Bolton was supposed to give a briefing to reporters at the White House.
Trump said he would name a new national security adviser next week.
But in a rival tweet sent a few minutes later, apparently from the White House’s own network, Bolton said that he had tried to resign last night and been blown off by the president.
The squabbling versions of Bolton’s departure were even more extraordinary given that White House reporters had been told that he, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin were due to brief journalists at 1pm in the press briefing room.
Bolton was seen as a war hawk who favored military intervention around the globe – a view that was at odds with Trump’s insistence that America’s troops should stop being ‘the world’s policemen.’
He clashed repeatedly with Pompeo over foreign policy and was recently sidelined during internal White House discussions about how to handle conflicts with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Bolton opposed Trump’s proposal for a peace plan with the Taliban.
When the president wanted to hold a Camp David peace summit, which he called off after a Taliban suicide bombing attack in Kabul killed 12 people, Bolton was one of its leading opponents.
Tensions between Bolton and Pompeo ramped up in recent weeks. The two men -– the top foreign policy advisers to the president – rarely spoke outside of formal meetings, CNN reported.
Bolton was also said to clash with acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
Bolton and Pompeo had been scheduled to brief the press Tuesday afternoon about an unrelated subject.
Bolton, 70, had been appointed from outside government in April 2018 when Trump dispensed with his second National Security Advisor, three-star Army general H.R. McMaster.
He had been a prominent Fox News contributor with hawkish views in particular on the Iran nuclear deal.
Trump had sometimes joked about Bolton’s image as a warmonger, reportedly saying in one Oval Office meeting that ‘John has never seen a war he doesn’t like.’
But in recent months there had been whispers that Trump was losing patience with Bolton.
When Trump went to South Korea at the end of June and crossed into the DMZ to meet Kim Jong-Un, the first sitting president to meet a North Korean leader in the separation zone between the two countries, Bolton was in Mongolia rather than being with the president.
TRUMP’S HIGH-PROFILE DEPARTURE LOUNGE
Here are just some of the top officials who have left Trump’s administration and when their departures were announced
Inauguration Day was January 20
January 31: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates
February 13: National Security Adviser Michael Flynn
March 30: Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh
April 9: Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland
May 9: FBI Director James Comey
May 30: Communications Director Michael Dubke
July 21: Press Secretary Sean Spicer
July 28: Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
July 31: Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci
August 18: Chief Strategist Steve Bannon
August 25: National security aide Sebastian Gorka
September 1: Director of Oval Office Operations Keith Schiller
September 29: Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price
December 8: Deputy National Security adviser Dina Powell
December 13: Communications director for the White House Office of Public Liaison Omarosa Manigault Newman
February 7: Staff Secretary Rob Porter
February 28: Communications Director Hope Hicks
March 6: Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn
March 12: Special assistant and personal aide to the president John McEntee
March 13: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
March 22: National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster
March 28: Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin
April 10: Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert
April 11: Deputy National Security Adviser Nadia Schadlow
April 12: Deputy National Security adviser Ricky Waddell
May 2: White House attorney Ty Cobb
June 5: Communications aide Kelly Sadler
July 5: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt
August 29: White House Counsel Don McGahn
October 9: U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley
November 7: Attorney General Jeff Sessions
December 9: Chief of Staff John Kelly
December 15: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
December 20: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis
March 8: Communications Director Bill Shine
April 8: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen
June 13: White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders
June 18: Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan
June 25: Acting Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner John Sanders
July 12: Labor Secretary Alex Acosta
July 28: Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats
August 6: Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman
August 8: Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Sue Gordon
August 29: President’s personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout
September 5: Lead Middle East peace negotiator, Jason Greenblatt
September 10: National Security Advisor, John Bolton
And yet they still haven’t impeached him…