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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

‘Strongly disagreed with him’: US president Donald Trump fires national security adviser John Bolton

Trump tweeted Tuesday that he told Bolton Monday night that his services were no longer needed at the White House. He says Bolton submitted his resignation on Tuesday morning.

world Updated: Sep 11, 2019 06:05 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo could be counted among the “others” referred to be the president who also differed with Bolton — the two were on opposite sides of the Taliban peace talks.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo could be counted among the “others” referred to be the president who also differed with Bolton — the two were on opposite sides of the Taliban peace talks. (Reuters file photo)
         

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced he has fired National Security Adviser John Bolton saying he and others in the administration “strongly disagreed” with many of latter’s suggestions. He will name his fourth NSA next week.

Bolton, a foreign policy hawk, had been at odds with the president on many issues such as North Korea talks, Iran and, most recently, on the peace talks with the Taliban and a meeting at Camp David, presidential retreat, which the US president called off last week, and has since declared them “dead” as far he was concerned.

“I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,” Trump wrote on Twitter, announcing yet another personnel change on the social media site. “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.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo could be counted among the “others” referred to be the president who also differed with Bolton — the two were on opposite sides of the Taliban peace talks. And Bolton’s exit is being seen as a victory for Pompeo, who is closely aligned with Trump on most foreign policy issues.

But Bolton followed up the announcement with his own tweet, disputing the president’s version of his exit: “I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow’.” This was seen as a sign of things to come that Bolton, unlike others fired by Trump, will push back and may have more to say.

Bolton, who was named by Trump NSA in March 2018, had played a key role for the administration in the India-Pakistan tensions following the Pulwama terrorist attack in February, telling his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval in a phone call that India had a right to defend itself, signaling US understanding should India carry out a retaliatory strike, which it did, bombing a Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in Balakot.

It was Bolton, once again, who was told of Indian readiness to launch missile strikes against Pakistan over the captured Indian Air Force pilot, which spurred the Trump administration into leaning on Islamabad leading to the president announcing from Hanoi, where he was then for his second summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, that he had “reasonably attractive news” for India. The pilot was released later in the day.

New Delhi will wait for the president to announce his next NSA to start building a key relationship from scratch for the fourth time on Trump’s watch.

Trump’s first NSA Michael Flynn, a former defense intelligence service head, lasted just a few days, becoming the first casualty of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections. He was fired for lying about his interactions with Russian official. He and Doval had talked for an hour when they first met in December 2016, before Trump’s took office. They had “connected well”, people familiar with the meeting had said then.

The second was H R McMaster, a serving general, who was extremely bullish on ties with India and was an outspoken critics of Pakistan’s support for terrorism, and had publicly called it out for using them as “an arm of its foreign policy”. He had also argued, unsuccessfully, for hosting Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Camp David presidential retreat during his June 2017 visit for to meet resident Trump.

First Published: Sep 10, 2019 21:47 IST