John Bolton on being fired by Trump: That's not what happened
President Donald Trump claims he fired National Security Adviser John Bolton last night, but that may not be how it went down.
"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."
Shortly after Trump made the announcement, Bolton disputed the accuracy of the statement:
"I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, "Let's talk about it tomorrow."
It looks like Trump decided not to talk about it and Bolton first learned of his firing this morning, not last night like the president claims.
We believe Bolton on this because he was still listed in the media schedule today to give a briefing with Mike Pompeo and Steve Mnuchin.
This is how Trump fires people, with no decency whatsoever.
It's not too unsurprising. It has been leaked that Bolton and Trump weren't getting along too well on policy, and he was even kept out of several key meetings with the president, an odd display considering how valuable his position is in the White House.
The latest straw came when Bolton challenged Trump's thinking on striking a peace deal with the Taliban. While Trump didn't meet with them for peace talks at Camp David like he claimed he would, he is still open to negotiations. It also set off a huge debate among his national security team. Bolton doesn't want to deal with terrorists and says Trump can keep his campaign pledge by drawing down troops in Afghanistan another way.
“If you really want peace, then stop the attacks,” said one defense official. “It’s important that we don’t trust the Taliban. They should earn that trust.”
Bolton and other defense officials argued that inviting "a designated terrorist organization" to Camp David would “set a terrible precedent,” said a senior administration official.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, though, was eager for a fast withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region and has been pushing for the meeting. He's been all over television defending the idea: “If you’re going to negotiate peace, you often have to deal with some pretty bad actors.”
He has also been bragging about how many Taliban the U.S. has been killing everyday.
The departure of Bolton means that Pompeo won that battle.
This move also means that Trump's foreign policy is about to be taking a much softer tone. Bolton was a major Bush-era war hawk and was seen as the architect of the White House's hard-line policy toward Iran.