US President Donald Trump has announced he is replacing his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, with John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN and a military intervention hawk.
Trump announced the replacement on Thursday, making Bolton his third national security adviser since coming to office and continuing a shake-up that creates one of the most hawkish national security teams of any White House in recent history.
“I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on 4/9,” Trump wrote via twitter.
Bolton, who has been working as Fox News analyst and at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has been an informal adviser to Trump. He was spotted walking in the West Wing on Thursday afternoon, hours before his hiring was announced.
The president decided to boot McMaster following months of friction between them.
Trump publicly scolded McMaster in February after the former general said there was “incontrovertible” proof that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, remarks that were at odds with Trump’s claim that his campaign did not collude with Russia.
“General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems,” Trump tweeted as a response.
Bolton, an outspoken advocate of military action who served in the administration of former US president George W. Bush, has called for action against Iran and North Korea.
In a February op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Bolton made the “legal case for striking North Korea first” to stop what he deems an “imminent threat” from the nation’s nuclear program.
Bolton is also strongly opposed to the Iran nuclear deal. According to The American Conservative magazine, Bolton “has been obsessed for many years with going to war against the Islamic Republic.”
Bolton’s hiring was met with opposition among Democrats on Capitol Hill, who expressed fear that he could help lead the country into an overseas war. As President George W. Bush’s UN ambassador, Bolton was a vocal proponent of the Iraq War.
“With the appointments of Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, @realDonaldTrump is successfully lining up his war cabinet,” tweeted Democrat Senator Ed Markey. “Bolton played a key role in politicizing the intel that misled us into the Iraq War. We cannot let this extreme war hawk blunder us into another terrible conflict.”
“No man is more out of touch with the situation in the Middle East or more dangerous to our national security than Bolton,” GOP Senator Rand Paul had written in an op-ed days after Trump’s election when news came that Trump is interested in appointing Bolton to a top post.