In Shift to More Forward-Leaning Foreign Policy, President Trump Replaces National Security Adviser McMaster with Bolton

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President Trump has announced that he will be replacing Gen. H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser with former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. The President made the announcement on Twitter.

“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,” he wrote.

Bolton had previously served as U.N. Ambassador in the George W. Bush administration from August 2005 until December 2006. He resigned that post feeling it was unlikely he would get confirmed by a newly-elected Democratic Senate in January 2007. Bolton is known as a war hawk, often advocating for an aggressive U.S. foreign policy, and military intervention abroad.

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He was a fierce proponent of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and has called for military action against Iran, as well as regime change in North Korea. He once said of the United Nations, “The Secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If it lost ten stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.”

Some are concerned that Bolton’s appointment signals a more forward-leaning foreign policy, especially as it relates to military action. The President and Bolton have reportedly been discussing his appointment for weeks, with Bolton assuring the President that he wouldn’t “start any wars,” should he be tapped.

In a statement announcing his acceptance, Bolton struck a decidedly diplomatic tone. “It is an honor to be asked by President Trump to serve as his National Security Advisor. I humbly accept his offer. The United States currently faces a wide array of issues and I look forward to working with President Trump and his leadership team in addressing these complex challenges in an effort to make our country safer at home and stronger abroad,” he wrote.

Trump and McMaster had grown increasingly at odds in recent months, with McMaster cautioning against leaving the Iran deal, pointing out the uncertainty of what would come next. There was also friction between the two over Afghanistan policy. McMaster wanted to send additional troops to bolster American forces there and solidify fragile gains made by forces. The President dismissed such a strategy, although eventually announcing a plan that called for sending thousands more troops there.

The differences were punctuated last month when McMaster, speaking at an international conference in Munich, Germany, called evidence of Russian interference in the U.S. election “incontrovertible.” President Trump took exception, posting on Twitter, “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. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!”

The President and McMaster had been discussing the move for weeks with timing being the only question left open. The President reportedly wants to have his national security team in place before a potential meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this spring.

The decision has been described as mutual and amicable. “H. R. McMaster has served his country with distinction for more than 30 years,” the President wrote in a statement. “He has won many battles and his bravery and toughness are legendary. General McMaster’s leadership of the National Security Council staff has helped my administration accomplish great things to bolster America’s national security.”

Bolton was seen entering the White House yesterday and was said to be surprised when the President made the announcement. He was not expecting it to be made yesterday afternoon. “This hasn’t sunk in,” he said.

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