Donald Trump says ‘I don’t blame Kim Jong-un’ for wanting ‘nothing to do with John Bolton’ as he unloads on fired ‘tough guy’ national security adviser after getting rid of him because he believed he was leaking
- Donald Trump bashed John Bolton during an Oval Office meeting the day after firing him as national security adviser
- The president said he didn’t ‘blame’ North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for wanting ‘nothing to do with John Bolton’
- North Korean officials labeled Bolton a ‘war maniac’
- U.S. officials have also claimed he was the reason for the demise of Trump and Kim’s second summit in Vietnam
- Trump and Bolton disagreed on several national security issues, leading to his ultimate ousting from the administration on Tuesday
- Trump said Bolton’s advocacy for the ‘Libya model’ in North Korea was the final straw
- Others claim Trump was suspicious Bolton was the source of leaks, including one involving the planned Taliban Peace Summit the fell apart over the weekend
Donald Trump blasted former National Security Advisor John Bolton on Wednesday, mocking him as ‘Mr. tough guy’ and denouncing him as a reckless foreign policy hawk who crossed swords with his colleagues and offended foreign leaders.
The president fired Bolton on Tuesday, following a series of clashes over U.S. policy in Iran, Russia and Afghanistan. But it was his advocacy in April of a ‘Libya model’ for dealing with North Korean denuclearization that Trump highlighted as the final straw.
The U.S. persuaded Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi to abandon his nuclear and chemical weapons ambitions more than 15 years ago in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions.
Gaddafi renounced weapons of mass destruction in 2003. Eight years later he was dead, toppled by his domestic enemies in a vicious civil war.
‘We were set back very badly when John Bolton talked about the Libyan model,’ Trump told reporters Wednesday in the Oval Office. ‘And he made a mistake and as soon as he mentioned that. The Libyan model! What a disaster.’
Donald Trump took a hit at his now-departed National Security Advisor John Bolton, claiming he doesn’t ‘blame’ North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for not wanting to work with Bolton
Trump told reporters in the Oval Office Wednesday that his North Korean counterpart wanted ‘nothing to do with John Bolton’
Previously, North Korean officials labeled Bolton as a ‘war maniac,’ and some attribute the demise of Trump and Kim’s second summit in Vietnam in February to Bolton
‘I don’t blame Kim Jong-un for what he said after that. And he wanted nothing to do with John Bolton,’ the president added.
‘And that’s not a question of being tough, that’s a question of being not smart saying something like that.’
‘That was not a good statement to make. You just take a look at what happened with Gaddafi,’ he said.
The president said the famously brush-moustachioed neoconservative also refused to get behind his uncompromising policy of trade pressure on China.
‘John wasn’t in line with what we were doing. And actually in some cases he thought it was too tough,’ he explained.
Sources told CNN on Tuesday that another reason Trump parted ways with Bolton was a belief that he tried to make him look bad after a planned Taliban peace summit at Camp David disintegrated, by leaking details of the unraveling to reporters.
‘There is a lot that Trump can take. Leaking is not one,’ the source said.
Bolton also famously clashed with Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Both Cabinet members wore broad smiles Tuesday afternoon as they fielded questions from reporters.
The former U.N. ambassador had been scheduled to participate in that briefing before Trump handed him his pink slip.
‘He wasn’t getting along with people in the administration who I consider very important,’ Trump said Wednesday.
He announced that he has a short list of five candidates for the national security adviser job who ‘want it very much,’ and ‘a lot more than that would like to have it.’
The potential picks are ‘good people I’ve gotten to know over the last three years, and we’ll be announcing somebody next week,’ he said.
Three of Bolton’s top former aides at the National Security Council submitted their resignations Wednesday.
Garrett Marquis, Bolton’s top spokesman, Sarah Tinsley, his communications director, and scheduler Christine Samuelian all resigned. The trio have all worked for Bolton for years, including during his brief presidential run in 2016.