John Bolton, President Trump's third national security adviser, was apparently pretty unpopular in the White House. Among those cheering his departure Tuesday, The Washington Post reports, were first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, "countless Defense Department officials, and numerous international leaders." Also, Fox News host Tucker Carlson. But that's not why he was fired, or resigned, whatever.
Trump and Bolton had substantive disagreements on how to address Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Afghanistan, as Trump alluded to in his dismissal tweet, "but Trump finally decided to remove his top security aide on Tuesday after a heated discussion in the Oval Office, following accusations by other officials in the administration that Bolton had leaked to the news media," the Post reports.
Tucker Carlson and "several senior administration officials frequently told Trump that Bolton, a career hawk with a reputation as a vicious bureaucratic infighter, not only wasn't on his team but was using the news media against him," Politico reports. "He was a leaker, they told him. Others in the administration feared the same, at times excluding Bolton and his allies from sensitive meetings for fear they would weaponize the information exchanged to their advantage. ... Ultimately, it was hearing media accounts about how Bolton had advised the president to scuttle a meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David that proved a breaking point for Trump."
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"Trump and his aides privately blamed" Bolton for news reports describing his opposition to the Taliban talks and Pence's agreement with Bolton, The New York Times reports. Bolton was also suspected of leaking notes about a North Korea nuclear freeze plan he opposed. True or not, the Times says, "Bolton's adversaries inside the administration have been after him for weeks, spreading stories about how the national security adviser had been excluded from meetings and was on the outs with the president." And now he is.
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