John Bolton: Trump’s national security adviser is out

Mr John Bolton


US President Donald Trump has announced he fired his hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton, adding that he disagreed “strongly” with him.

“I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning,” Mr Trump tweeted, saying he will appoint a replacement next week.

But Mr Bolton insisted he had quit, and vowed to have his say “in due course”.

Appointed in April 2018, he was Mr Trump’s third national security adviser after Michael Flynn and HR McMaster.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told reporters: “[The president] didn’t like a lot of his policies, they disagree.”

She said the president had asked for Mr Bolton’s resignation on Monday night, and it was delivered on Tuesday morning.

What is Bolton saying?

But moments after Mr Trump’s tweet, Mr Bolton took to Twitter to offer a different version of events.

He maintained he had actually offered his resignation, but Mr Trump told him “let’s talk about it tomorrow”.

As the news broke, Mr Bolton texted a Fox News host live on TV to insist he had resigned as national security adviser.

He texted Washington Post reporter Robert Costa that “I will have my say in due course” and “my sole concern is US national security”.

Just two hours before his departure was announced, Mr Bolton had been due to host a White House briefing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Reporters spotted Mr Bolton outside the West Wing on Tuesday morning, but he reportedly departed without escort after Mr Trump’s tweet.

The new acting national security adviser will be Charles Kupperman, who was a deputy to Mr Bolton, the White House told the BBC.

What are White House sources saying?

Sources said that the National Security Council, which advises the president, had become a separate entity within the White House under Mr Bolton.

A former senior Trump administration official, who wished to remain anonymous, told the BBC: “He [Bolton] operates separately from the rest of the White House.”

According to the official, Mr Bolton did not attend meetings, and followed his own initiatives.

“He’s running his own show,” said the official.

A White House official told the BBC’s US partner, CBS News. “Bolton has his priorities. He didn’t ask the president ‘What are your priorities?’ They’re Bolton’s priorities.”

A former senior administration official told CBS that Mr Bolton’s “his way or the highway” approach infuriated many people inside the White House, including the president.

The anonymous source said the former national security adviser had “got too big for his britches” and “doesn’t play well in the sandbox”.

In the past month, a source familiar with the situation told CBS the White House drumbeat to oust Mr Bolton had grown louder.

Sources say it was known at the White House over the past two weeks that Mr Bolton would be “the next one removed”.

BBC White House reporter Tara McKelvey says she once asked Mr Bolton about his relationship with the president, and the national security adviser simply burst out laughing. (BBC)