Bye Bye Bolton?
THE WASHINGTON POST:
We are far enough into the Trump administration to know how the script usually plays out when a Cabinet officer or high-ranking staffer is on the outs with the president. First, Trump asks everyone within his orbit what he thinks of the imperiled official. Second, reports of Trump’s dissatisfaction hit the press. Third, those stories often contain incidents of Trump mocking the official on the chopping block. Fourth, Trump denies everything and claims it to be fake news. Fifth, Trump fires the person.
To be fair, sometimes the script is not that rote. Staffers like Gary Cohn and Don McGahn managed to infuriate the president but depart on their own accord. The same was true of Nikki Haley. Rod Rosenstein managed to wheedle his way back into Trump’s good graces. And sometimes the gap between Step Four and Step Five can be long and agonizing. John Kelly was on the outs with Trump for much of 2018 but managed to hang around until December.
This brings us to national security adviser John Bolton. Reports about dissatisfaction with Bolton have been percolating for a while now. As Bolton husbanded control of the national security decision-making process, resentment among other policy principals has grown. There have been multiple accounts of friction between Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that have little to do with policy and everything to do with style. After the failed transition in Venezuela, The Washington Post’s Anne Gearan, Josh Dawsey, John Hudson and Seung Min Kim reported, “The president’s dissatisfaction has crystallized around national security adviser John Bolton and what Trump has groused is an interventionist stance at odds with his view that the United States should stay out of foreign quagmires.”
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