On March 22, 2018, President Trump announced in a tweet that former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton will replace General H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor. The change will become effective on April 9, 2018. According to Foreign Policy, Bolton is expected to clean house at the National Security Council by coming down hard on White House leakers.
In his future firings, Bolton may target officials thought to have been disloyal to his new boss by leaking about the President to media outlets, McMaster’s team, and holdovers from the Obama administration. A past White House executive informed Foreign Policy, “Bolton can and will clean house” while a different source stated, “He is going to remove almost all the political [appointees] McMaster brought in.” Another previous White House bureaucrat remarked that anyone who worked for Obama who remains at the NSC should start boxing up his or her things.
According to a source who spoke to Foreign Policy, Bolton held a phone conference with some of his long-term advisors on the night of March 22. One of the people allegedly on the phone was Michael Freedman, a Republican advisor who consulted Bolton when he worked at the United Nations and the State Department. The consultant is reportedly aiding Bolton with the transition.
A Republican source informed the same source that “Freedman is a very political guy that Bolton likes. He is overly ambitious about cleaning house.” Freedman denied the account insisting he didn’t know anything about a March 22 phone call. Seemingly corroborating with Freedman’s assertion, another source with close ties to Bolton stated it was too early to be discussing a personnel shakeup.
Trump and Bolton are both fans of a more hawkish foreign policy stance, especially where Iran and North Korea are concerned. They also seem opposed to multilateral diplomacy such as working with the United Nations or the European Union. Due to these similarities, veterans of the Trump administration feel Bolton will want to swiftly put together his own team at the NSC.
One of the bureaucrats Bolton’s supporters reportedly wish for him to terminate is Nadia Schadlow, the current deputy national security advisor for strategy. She was the principal creator of the administration’s recently unveiled National Security Strategy. The document, which reaffirmed numerous traditional foreign policy stances, was viewed as shockingly mainstream. Ricky Waddelll, Bolton’s predecessor’s deputy, is also believed to be on the chopping block.
On the day of Trump’s announcement to make Bolton his next National Security Advisor, the former United Nations Ambassador spoke with Fox News’s Martha MacCalllum on “The Story.” Regarding his new job, Bolton said, “It’s obviously a great honor. It’s always an honor to serve our country, and I think particularly in these times internationally.”
MacCallum asked Bolton how he felt about Trump congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin after he was re-elected on March 20, 2018. Bolton shrugged the significance of Trump’s talk with Putin off by remarking, “I’ve said ‘congratulations’ to a lot of people, foreign diplomats, and officials. It’s a matter of being polite.”
While Trump’s phone call with the Russian president didn’t worry Bolton, he was incensed that a memo prepared for Trump before the communication with Putin was leaked. Warning the president not to give Putin a pat on the back, the memo read, “DO NOT CONGRATULATE.”
“It recalled earlier in the administration when somebody was leaking transcripts of the president’s conversations with foreign leaders,” Bolton fumed. “It’s completely unacceptable.”
The incoming National Security Advisor went on to state, “You cannot conduct diplomacy, you cannot expect other foreign leaders to be candid and open in their conversations with the president if some munchkin in the executive branch decides they’re going to leak the talking points or the transcript or any other aspect of it.”
While conservatives praised Trump’s appointment of Bolton, liberal media outlets displayed a decidedly different opinion. The New York Times labeled the former United Nations Ambassador “an Undiplomatic Voice for American Might.” The left-leaning news platform also remarked that Bolton “Joins the Trump Cast.” Acknowledging Bolton’s new job, Splinter News’s headline read, “Trump Hires Bush Administration Demon John Bolton as New National Security Advisor.”
~ Liberty Planet