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Bolton's Firing Prompts Diverse Response on Capitol Hill

Bolton's Firing Prompts Diverse Response on Capitol Hill

Former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton. (Viktor Tolochko / Sputnik via AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 10 September 2019 04:34 PM

Reaction differed widely Tuesday to President Donald Trump's firing of National Security Adviser John Bolton after a tumultuous 17-month tenure, with some longstanding Republican detractors and Democrats celebrating — and some pundits predicting that the former United Nations ambassador might not leave quietly.

"Every president needs to have confidence in their national security adviser," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters on Capitol Hill. "I like John Bolton. He sees the world for what it is.

"I've always had a similar view of the threats that we face, but the personal relationship between the president and the national security adviser is important."

Graham noted reports that Trump dismissed Bolton amid a blow-up over a since-canceled meeting with the Taliban at Camp David, saying that it "probably was a bridge too far" and that the president now "gets a chance to pick a national security adviser he has more confidence in."

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who has long opposed Bolton's hawkish views, praised Trump's decision.

"I commend @realDonaldTrump for this necessary action," Paul said on Twitter. "The president has great instincts on foreign policy and ending our endless wars.

"He should be served by those who share those views."

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro on Twitter called Bolton's firing "terrible for the White House."

"Bolton was correct about the Taliban; State [Department] wasn't," he added. "Bolton has been a hawkish voice for a tough national security policy, and his ouster likely signals that Trump's approach will be significantly softer from this point forward."

In a pair of tweets Tuesday, President Trump said he had fired Bolton, 70, with whom he had significant disagreements on Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other global issues.

"I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House," Trump said in one post. "I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the administration."

Trump added that he would name a replacement next week.  Charlie Kupperman, the deputy national security adviser, will serve on an acting basis, deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said.

But Bolton, the third national security adviser of Trump's presidency, hit back quickly, tweeting: "I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, 'Let's talk about it tomorrow.'"

He tweeted variations of the post to several journalists, including Peter Baker of The New York Times, Susan Glasser of The New Yorker, and Brian Kilmeade of Fox News.

Bolton took over the National Security Council after the March 2018 ouster of H. R. McMaster. He has served in top diplomatic posts in three Republican administrations: Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Other Republicans signaled how Bolton's firing jeopardized U.S. national security policy.

"Chaos and confusion every day," tweeted former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is weighing a 2020 primary bid against Trump. "That's why I worry about our foreign policy initiatives, or lack thereof."

Democrats quickly similarly bashed the Trump White House.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., another Foreign Relations member, tweeted: "The world doesn't stand still and simply watch our national security dysfunction.

"Our allies and adversaries turn to cut deals with other leading nations whose policy is, at the very least, consistent — like China and Russia — while we fall to pieces.

"These are scary times," Murphy said.

In the House, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, told Harris Faulkner on Fox News: "I had problems with John Bolton.

"His history as a very, very aggressive, bombastic, and — in my view — dangerous person, never should have been in that position to begin with," he added. "But he was there."

He called President Trump's meeting with the Taliban days before the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks "a very, very bad idea.

"A very good idea to negotiate," he told Faulkner. "No doubt about the need for negotiations."

Another Armed Services member, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., characterized the Trump-Bolton relationship as "oil and vinegar."

"His efforts to want to attack everywhere just did not sit well with the president or probably [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo," Speier told Brianna Keilar on CNN. "The fact that Bolton and Pompeo weren't getting along was creating a lot of friction."

Even Iraq cheered Bolton's firing, with The Times of Iraq f-bombing the dismissed adviser and taking shots at his personal style.

However, that Bolton took to Twitter to counter President Trump's posts had some pundits forecasting that the former Fox News commentator was going to argue his side in the media.

"Bolton appears to be laying the groundwork to mount his own defense," former CIA officer Ned Price told Andrea Mitchell on NBC News. "He has a very different world view from Trump, others within administration and the rest of American people.

"I suspect Bolton will be trying to resuscitate or rehabilitate his image," he added.

Michael Steel, who served on Utah Sen. Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign and now runs a Washington public relations firm, tweeted: "Seems possible that @AmbJohnBolton will feel less 'duty of silence' than other former national security officials."

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Reaction differed widely Tuesday to President Donald Trump's firing of National Security Adviser John Bolton after a tumultuous 17-month tenure, with some longstanding Republican detractors and Democrats celebrating.
bolton, trump, nsa, republican, democrats, response
Tuesday, 10 September 2019 04:34 PM
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