this sounds familiar
April 29, 2019

John Bolton's path to national security adviser was far from direct.

President Trump's national security adviser has a controversial, hawkish history that spans four Republican administrations. Yet he was passed over to head Trump's state department, and once again for his current job — until he made some very graphic sacrifices to get it, The New Yorker details in a profile published Monday.

After spending some time in the previous two GOP administrations, Bolton got a top spot as an undersecretary of state for former President George W. Bush. That's where his "absolutist view" of American weapons superiority took shape, often putting him at odds with everyone else in the State Department, The New Yorker writes. He eventually became Bush's UN Secretary, spent some time in the private sector, and then returned to politics.

At one point, Bolton thought about running for president. But it was clear "he was running for secretary of state," the whole time, his former aide Mark Groombridge told The New Yorker. Still, his paid speech to what the U.S. once called a terrorist group, opposition from past secretaries of state, and a general understanding that "John wants to bomb everyone" gave Trump some "big reservations," one former senior official told The New Yorker. Bolton didn't get that job, and he didn't get nominated as national security adviser until the latter post became vacant again.

Given that "Trump does not want war," though, one western diplomat who knows Bolton said "to get the job, Bolton had to cut his balls off and put them on Trump's desk." Groomsbridge also contemplated just why Bolton serves under Trump, telling The New Yorker that "I wonder how he goes into work every day, because deep in his heart he believes the president is a moron."

Read more at The New Yorker. Kathryn Krawczyk

See More Speed Reads