John Bolton’s ideological clashes with not only POTUS but other senior White House officials often slipped into public view, so his abrupt resignation last week hardly came as a surprise for many. With a newly-appointed foreign policy aide, Robert C. O’Brien, there is, on the contrary, some “good chemistry”, Trump acknowledged.
Recently sacked presidential national security adviser John Bolton vehemently called out President Trump’s foreign policy at a private lunch thrown by conservative think tank Gatestone Institute, on Wednesday, which saw many political and business A-listers in attendance, Politico reported citing insiders.
He argued Trump invited the Taliban, which had harboured al-Qaeda, to Camp David, “in disrespect to the victims of 9/11”. Two attendees cited by Politico also recounted Bolton saying any talks with North Korea and Iran were “doomed to failure” as everything the nations, as he put it, seek to negotiate boils down to relief from sanctions to better support their economies.
“He ripped Trump, without using his name, several times”, said one attendee about Bolton.
When taking the floor, having been presented by billionaire Rebekah Mercer as “the best national security adviser our country could have hoped for”, Bolton referred to Trump’s failure to retaliate for the Iranian attack on a US drone earlier this summer as the reason for the Islamic Republic’s staunch foreign policies of late. Bolton, who at some point presided at Gatestone, went on to speculate that had the US responded, Iran wouldn’t have damaged the Saudi oil fields, branding the alleged attack on Saudis “an act of war” by anyone’s definition.
Bolton then complained that the retaliatory strike had been fully approved and agreed upon in the White House, but then, a high authority, “at the very last minute”, without telling anyone, backtracked.
Having heard the comments, Trump hit back emotively admitting he, like many more in the administration, was at loggerheads with the former aide:
“Well, I was critical of John Bolton for getting us involved with a lot of other people in the Middle East”, he told reporters during a visit to the US-Mexico border. “We’ve spent $7.5 trillion in the Middle East and you ought to ask a lot of people about that”.
The president addressed the way others viewed Bolton’s WH position:
“John was not able to work with anybody, and a lot of people disagreed with his ideas”, Trump added. “A lot of people were very critical that I brought him on in the first place because of the fact that he was so in favor of going into the Middle East, and he got stuck in quicksand and we became policemen for the Middle East. It’s ridiculous”.
The indirect exchange of criticism happened shortly after Trump named Bolton’s successor, hostage negotiator Robert C. O’Brien, a “highly respected professional”, with the pair boasting “good chemistry” in between them.