National Security Adviser John Bolton handed in his resignation Tuesday morning at President Trump’s request, the president announced on Twitter. Bolton had clashed with other members of the administration, notably Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on foreign policy issues.
“I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore…I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.
Bolton swiftly responded to Mr. Trump on Twitter, saying that he had offered to resign on Monday night.
“I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow,'” Bolton wrote, slightly contradicting Mr. Trump’s account that he had asked for Bolton’s resignation.
And Bolton, who was a Fox News contributor before he took the administration job, also appears to be taking issue with the president’s version of his departure. He texted Fox News anchor Brian Kilmeade, “Let’s be clear — I resigned.”
The White House will not be issuing an additional statement beyond Mr. Trump’s tweet for now.
Bolton was often at loggerheads with Pompeo, most recently over U.S. negotiations with the Taliban to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan. The two disagreed over whether a reduction of U.S. troops could happen with or without a negotiated deal. Bolton opposed negotiating with the Taliban.
On Saturday, Mr. Trump made the surprise announcement that peace talks with the Taliban had been canceled and further, that he had invited the Taliban and president of Afghanistan to Camp David to hammer out a peace deal — on the very week marking the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, in which 3,000 Americans died on U.S. soil.
Mr. Trump tweeted that he “called off peace negotiations” in the wake of last week’s car bomb attack near the U.S. embassy in Kabul that killed one American service member and another NATO soldier, as well as at least 10 civilians.
Under Bolton, the White House and National Security Council, ostensibly a component of the executive office of the president, had functionally become “separate entities,” a White House official said. “[National Security Adviser John] Bolton has his priorities. He didn’t ask the president ‘What are your priorities?’ They’re Bolton’s priorities.'”
A former senior administration official said that Bolton did not attend meetings and follows his own initiatives.
Bolton, who served in the George W. Bush administration and was a supporter of U.S. engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, was one of the most hawkish foreign policy voices in Mr. Trump’s cabinet. Bolton often advocated for a harder line in dealing with Iran.
Bolton had been scheduled to speak with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Pompeo Tuesday afternoon.
He is the fourth national security adviser to depart the administration since Mr. Trump took office. Michael Flynn and H.R. McMaster preceded Bolton in the job, and Keith Kellogg was an acting national security adviser.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Arden Farhi and Olivia Gazis contributed to this report.
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