How Long Before Trump Ousts National Security Advisor John Bolton?
We’re not exactly saying we “called it”, but we’re re-upping a piece today that we put out a little over a year ago. Because even though we were, well, a little more than a year off on when this would happen (and one might argue getting fired by Trump unless you’re ultra-anti immigrant advisor Stephen Miller, or a family member, is an inevitability), the reasons Trump gave are remarkably consistent to what we pointed to in this story.
Of course, Trump did it via Tweet:
We have no love for John Bolton. So, BTW, this is a really good move by Trump. As good as hiring him in the first place was bad. Because as we’ve mentioned previously, we know him a little, and we’ve never met anyone more rude to their own staff in front of other people. (Note: we’ve never met Trump in person.) At the time of his appointment, we described him thusly:
“Imperious as hell, a war monger, and a genuine lunatic who goes around talking about “pre-emptive strikes” as the solution to most any conflict involving the U.S.”
And our hope at the time was that Trump would quickly get fed up with Bolton’s haughtiness, once they started spending a lot of time together.
We’ve also warned about Bolton’s deliberate and astounding dogma of disregarding the consequences of a lot of his recommendations. “I don’t do war. I do policy”, he likes to say.
At the same time, Bolton comes squarely from the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party that contains a lot of Trump’s base. (Much more so than Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who’s much more of a mainstream Koch-brothers kind of guy — he actually used to represent the Koch Brothers’ district in Congress). So Trump is taking a political risk dumping Bolton on the side of the road. How big a risk? No idea. But perhaps that’s why he hung around so much longer than we predicted.
The weekend debacle with the Taliban is the obvious inciting incident here. But we think North Korea is playing into Bolton’s ouster in a big way. Trump wants to get things going again with Kim Jong-un, and the North Korean dictator hates Bolton because he was instrumental in killing a Clinton-concocted North Korea deal when George W. Bush came into office. (Bolton described himself as shattering the deal with a hammer.)
With Trump, there’s always the question who’s going to be next, and might they be worse? If Trump’s Tweets didn’t promise a new National Security Advisor by next week, we’d have thought he might just decide he’s his own best National Security Advisor and just give Secretary Pompeo a little bit of a promotion without a raise, which frankly he’s kind of gotten already.
(One quick side note: how is Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross still hanging in there? We predicted his demise in June, when the Supreme Court refused to allow a citizenship question Trump wanted onto the next Census questionnaire because there was a huge ugly pile of evidence Ross lied about why the administration wanted it. And then just now he completely bolloxed up Trump’s claims of a hurricane threat to Alabama, by — according to the New York Times — quite possibly leaving a paper trail where he threatened to fire government weather scientists who contradict the President. (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is under the purview of the Commerce Department.) Just wondering when his expiration date comes around…Unless of course, the President sees Ross’ recent actions as a plus…
Anyway, here’s our original take on the Trump/Bolton dynamic:
When Trump Takes A Look At G-7 Photos, He’ll Notice His New National Security Adviser (And His Bushy Moustache Trump Hates) Squeezing Into Nearly Every One Of Them, Coming Damn Near Overshadowing The President. Plus He’s Standing, While Trump Sits, Making The President Look Like His Enfeebled Father.
You know who the last person was who used to like to do that? Anthony Scarammuci. And that’s why way back when, we predicted Scaramucci would not be long for the Trump Administration. We think the same now.
Compare that to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who makes two secret trips to North Korea with very little fanfare. Or Chief of Staff John Kelly whom Trump often has trouble finding at public meetings “where’s John Kelly?” He doesn’t have that problem with Bolton: because Bolton’s almost always less than the width of a normal photo away. And while that’s great if you’re an egotist who thinks he knows better than the President, and works to overrule and undermine him, it’s not good if you want to have a long (or even medium-length career in this White House).
Especially since Trump can’t be happy about Bolton’s not-so-secret campaign (that almost worked) to scuttle the Trump/Kim talks that start tomorrow. And Trump proved he wanted really, really badly (as we’ve also been saying all along).
Also, take a look at the language Trump uses when “endorsing” Bolton at a campaign rally in Nashville, Tennessee a couple of weeks back (click on the photo to watch the clip):
“They think he’s so nasty and so tough that I have to hold him back.” In other words: “he’s a bigger lunatic than me!” That’s not a compliment from Trump. That might sound like an endorsement from a President who clearly likes to do “nasty and tough”. But we think it’s exactly the opposite: It’s an indication he’s doing stuff that doesn’t sit well with Trump because it threatens to upstage him.