Donald Trump today Tweeted taht he fired National Security Advisor John Bolton who according to Trump had a wide variety of foreign policy disagreements with him. Although other presidents have axed members of their cabinets in America’s long history, Trump’s firing underscores once again how Trump doesn’t like people around him who disagree with or challenge his views. But was he really fired?
Bolton is now texting members of the news media saying that he was not, in fact, fired but he offered to resign Monday night, Trump said “Let’s talk about it in the morning,’ he sent in his resignation and 30 minutes later Trump Tweeted that he had fired him.
But we know Donald Trump wouldn’t lie.
WASHINGTON — President Trump fired John R. Bolton, his third national security adviser, on Tuesday amid fundamental disagreements over how to handle major foreign policy challenges like Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan.
Mr. Trump announced the decision on Twitter. “I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore 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.”
His departure comes as Mr. Trump is pursuing diplomatic openings with two of the United States’ most intractable enemies, efforts that have troubled hard-liners in the administration, like Mr. Bolton, who view North Korea and Iran as profoundly untrustworthy.
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.
To his admirers, Mr. Bolton was supposed to be a check on what they feared would be naïve diplomacy, a cleareyed realist who would keep a president without prior experience in foreign affairs from giving away the store to wily adversaries. But Mr. Trump has long complained privately that Mr. Bolton was too willing to get the United States into another war.
The tension between the men was aggravated in recent months by the president’s decisions to call off a planned airstrike on Iran in retaliation for the downing of an American surveillance drone and to meet with Mr. Kim at the Demilitarized Zone and cross over into North Korea.
Mr. Bolton favored the strike on Iran and publicly criticized recent North Korean missile tests that Mr. Trump brushed off. After the president arranged the DMZ meeting with Mr. Kim via a last-minute Twitter message, Mr. Bolton opted not to accompany him and instead proceeded on a previously scheduled trip to Mongolia.
The rift between the president and his national security adviser owed as much to personality as to policy. The president never warmed to him, a dynamic that is often fatal in this White House. Mr. Bolton also clashed with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
At its core, the schism reflected a deep-seated philosophical difference that has characterized the Trump presidency. While given to bellicose language, Mr. Trump came to office deeply skeptical of overseas military adventures and promising negotiations to resolve volatile conflicts. Mr. Bolton, however, has been one of Washington’s most outspoken hawks and unapologetic advocates of American power to defend the country’s interests.
On Twitter, much reaction and new details are trickling out:
John Bolton and President Trump got into a bitter argument last night over the president’s plan to host Taliban leaders at Camp David, two people tell me.
It’s unclear if it was on the phone or in person.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) September 10, 2019
Bolton frustrated White House aides with his travel demands and entourage & had tensions with Pompeo and many in building. On policy, he disagreed with POTUS on many fronts — and recently blanched at going on TV to defend some of it. Our first take: https://t.co/YvQBNwOEuX
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) September 10, 2019
I've said it before, but the best thing about Donald Trump is that he seems instinctually skeptical of going to war. His hiring of Bolton was a strike against that. His firing of Bolton is a rare bright spot in his presidency.
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) September 10, 2019
Ambassador Bolton sends me a text message just now: “Let’s be clear, I resigned, having offered to do so last night.”
— Robert Costa (@costareports) September 10, 2019
Quite a moment on Fox –> Host @Kilmeade said "John Bolton just texted me. Just now. He's watching. And he said, 'Let's be clear. I resigned.'"
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) September 10, 2019
John Bolton says that he resigned, but trump's Sharpie says otherwise. pic.twitter.com/tGhDEd07Pp
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) September 10, 2019
WATCH: John Bolton Texts Fox News Host Brian Kilmeade Live to Contest Trump's Claim He Was Fired https://t.co/8ybcu9mFcP
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) September 10, 2019
John Bolton has been fired/resigned to spend LESS time with his moustache.
— Jeremy Duns (@JeremyDuns) September 10, 2019
John Bolton never should have been National Security Advisor in the first place. His extreme policies have undermined our global leadership and national security. Good riddance. https://t.co/mY79mRJOQk
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) September 10, 2019
— Princess of Whales (@Metalli_Mom) September 10, 2019
Everybody who works closely with Trump in a national security capacity knows that the president is unfit for his office, but none will tell the public what they say to their intimates. They forgot: they owe their duty to the country to the nation, not to Trump. Speak!
— David Frum (@davidfrum) September 10, 2019
— The Hill (@thehill) September 10, 2019
So Pence and Bolton disagree with Trump on meeting with the Taliban on U.S. soil.
Pence goes to twitter to save his job.
Bolton goes to twitter to resign. pic.twitter.com/tNkOqwGOop
— David Jolly (@DavidJollyFL) September 10, 2019
Bolton should never have been hired in the first place. https://t.co/tntCPkPpjz
— Aaron Astor (@AstorAaron) September 10, 2019