Despite claims made by John Bolton in his new book about Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state still remains the president's North Star when it comes to foreign policy and security matters.
Bolton has asserted, without corroboration, that Pompeo made private comments to him that were critical of the president.
In "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir," Bolton says Pompeo — considered by some to be the president's most trusted Cabinet member — privately disagreed with him on key foreign policy issues ranging from Trump's efforts to open relations with North Korea to his hardline against Iran.
The problem with Bolton's claims is White House insiders, including the president, believe they are fabrications.
"Mike and John never got along, and it was John who opposed the president's policies, not Mike, so it's hard to believe the secretary was making derogatory comments like this about the president," a source close to the National Security Council told Newsmax.
Several White House sources said Pompeo remains one of the most influential policy figures in the president's inner circle — not to mention one of the most powerful secretaries of state since Henry Kissinger.
"Since confirmation in April 2018, Mike Pompeo has been the mainstay of U.S. foreign policy, taking the president's instincts and turning them into concrete lines of action," Peter Rough, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, told Newsmax. "The country owes him a debt of gratitude for translating Trumpism into policy — and explaining it to the world."
Rough, an expert on Europe and the Middle East, added, "when we zoom in on the Trump administration, Mike Pompeo's fingerprints are everywhere."
In recent months, Pompeo has been front and center in the administration's increasing hard line against China.
It was Pompeo who strongly backed Trump's decision this past January to close commercial air traffic to China, despite criticism from others, like Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who argued against it.
Trump's decision to close China has been credited by some as the most important one he has made in efforts to curtail the impact of the pandemic.
Most recently, Pompeo has taken the lead in denouncing China's new "national security law," which essentially crushes dissent in Hong Kong, and he branded Beijing's seizure of textbooks and other books in Hong Kong "Orwellian."
As for Bolton's claim of duplicity on Pompeo's part, a senior administration official told Newsmax, "Bolton didn't like Pompeo, mostly because Bolton saw himself as far more experienced and capable. Plus, Mike was working toward implementing a foreign policy — the president's foreign policy — that Bolton hated.
"Bolton clearly decided, early on, that he would be his own secretary of state, with his own airplane, his own entourage, his own press corps and his own ideas about foreign policy."
In striking contrast with Bolton, current National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien is a friend and ally to Pompeo.
White House security officials tell Newsmax, the two work closely together and always "have the president's back."
Other White House critics say Bolton's book is more about score settling than offering a true account of the facts. For example, Bolton and then-White House chief of staff John Kelly were often fighting in the West Wing.
But "The Room Where It Happened" paints a different picture, suggesting Bolton and Kelly were friends and worked closely together. Since leaving the White House, Kelly has been, like Bolton, a harsh critic of the president.
Many White House officials echoed the view Bolton's betrayal of confidential matters involving the president, and attacks on Pompeo, will cause lasting damage to the national security process.
"Secretary Pompeo knows how the world works and their effectiveness prove it," Ed Feulner, former president of the Heritage Foundation, told Newsmax, "And he knows that private discussions must stay private, if they are to have an impact."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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