Trump Fires National Security Adviser John Bolton

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton unveils the Trump administration’s Africa strategy at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on Dec. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired John Bolton, his third national security adviser, after months of disagreement over the direction of foreign policy.

“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,” Trump tweeted. “I thank John very much for his services. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week.”

In his own tweet, Bolton said Trump had implied the pair would further discuss his resignation Tuesday after initially talking about the matter Monday night.

“I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow,’” Bolton tweeted Tuesday.

Bolton first joined the administration in April 2018, preceded in the position by Michael Flynn and Army General H.R. McMaster. Bolton’s tenure in the position is the longest of the three propped up for the role by Trump, lasting a year and five months.

Trump and Bolton have disagreed over policy decisions about negotiations with the Taliban and ending the war in Afghanistan. Bolton was reportedly opposed to a meeting scheduled to take place with Taliban leaders and Trump at Camp David last weekend.

Bolton has long been a critic of Iran and he reportedly asked the Pentagon last year to provide the White House with options for military strikes against the country. He has formally called for a regime change there and supported Trump’s withdrawal from the international Iran nuclear deal.

The hawkish former national security adviser had also reportedly pressured Trump to pursue a more comprehensive denuclearization deal with North Korea.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement Tuesday that Trump’s decision to fire Bolton was the latest example of his “government-by-chaos approach” to administrative decisions.

“When Ambassador Bolton’s extreme views aren’t enough for you, the United States is headed for even more chaotic times,” Schumer said.

Bolton is a former ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2006. During his tenure, he opposed the formation of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council, which replaced the Human Rights Commission in 2006.

In his first address as national security advisor last year, Bolton said the administration would close the Palestinian Liberation Organization for seeking to punish Israel through the International Criminal Court. He also criticized the ICC and its investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by American soldiers in Afghanistan.

“We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us,” Bolton said.

Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Human Rights Project, said in a statement Tuesday that Bolton had abdicated America’s commitment to human rights issues.

“John Bolton threatened International Criminal Court judges and prosecutors for investigating the United States’ war crimes in Afghanistan. He celebrated when victims of torture were denied the opportunity to hold their torturers accountable. … None of this was apparently disagreeable enough to the president,” Dakwar said.

Charles Kupperman, who has held the position of deputy national security advisor, will take over Bolton’s position on an interim basis while Trump decides on a permanent replacement.

Kupperman formerly held senior positions with Lockheed Martin and Boeing and served in the Reagan administration’s Executive Office of the President, as well as NASA.

Named to the deputy position in January, Bolton said in a statement at the time that Kupperman had been his adviser for about 30 years.

“Charlie’s extensive expertise in defense, arms control and aerospace will help further President Trump’s national security agenda,” Bolton said.

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