President Donald Trump has named former UN ambassador John Bolton as his National Security Adviser, replacing Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who resigned on Thursday.
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
Bolton, a national security hawk has been outspoken in calling for action against Iran and North Korea.
According to a source, Bolton and Trump have been in discussion for weeks about replacing McMaster, promising the president, “he wouldn’t start any wars” if he took over.
The news of McMaster resigning and his replacement via Trump’s tweet came around the same time Bolton was on Fox News. Bolton told the Fox News host the offered happened earlier and wasn’t expecting to happen so shortly after meeting with Trump. Bolton will take over on April 9
For weeks, McMaster had discussed his departure from the Trump administration for quite some time, according to White House officials, but decided to make it official now due to “constant speculation” that interfered with McMaster doing his job. The departure was a mutual decision and not related to a recount leak that angered the president regarding briefing materials of the president phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The two have been discussing this for some time. The timeline was expedited as they both felt it was important to have the new team in place, instead of constant speculation,” a White House official said. “This was not related to any one moment or incident, rather it was the result of ongoing conversations between the two.”
The announcement of Bolton was met with strong opposition among Democrat leaders, who expressed fear that the former ambassador could help lead the country into an overseas war. As President George W. Bush’s U.N. Ambassador, Bolton was a vocal proponent of the Iraq War.
Republicans, on the other hand cheered Trump’s decision.
“I know John Bolton well and believe he is an excellent choice who will do a great job as National Security Advisor,” Sen. Marco Rubio said in a statement. “General McMaster has served, and will continue to serve, our nation well and I thank him for his service.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, a hawkish Senator said selecting Bolton “is good news for America’s allies and bad news for America’s enemies.”
In a statement released by the White House, McMaster thanked the president for the opportunity to serve as a member of the National Security Council. In resigning, McMaster will also retire from the U.S. Army effective this summer.
“After 34 years of service to our nation, I am requesting retirement from the U.S. Army effective this summer after which I will leave public service. Throughout my career it has been my greatest privilege to serve alongside extraordinary service members and dedicated civilians,” McMaster said in a statement. “I am thankful to President Donald J. Trump for the opportunity to serve him and our nation as national security advisor. I am grateful for the friendship and support of the members of the National Security Council who worked together to provide the President with the best options to protect and advance our national interests.”
WH Chief of staff John Kelly, who pushed McMaster to take the job, called him “a fine American and military officer” in a statement, adding the general “brought and maintained discipline and energy” on Trump’s national-security team.
In a statement, Trump said McMaster “helped develop our America First National Security Strategy, revitalize our alliances in the Middle East, smash ISIS, bring North Korea to the table, and strengthen our nation’s prosperity.”
McMaster was selected as Trump’s second national security adviser last year after firing Michael Flynn for lying to the president and senior officials about his conversation he had with a Russia’s ambassador within a month of taking the role.
During his tenure, McMaster and the president clashed over a complex of national security issues. He also clashed with former Trump advisor Steve Bannon and other top military brass, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. On policy, McMaster warned Trump against ripping up the Iran Deal without a strategy of what to do next, as well as differ on strategy for American forces in Afghanistan. On meeting with North Korea leader, McMaster expressed grave concerns of the president with meeting with the leader.
Trump publicly scolded McMaster in February after his national security adviser said there was “incontrovertible” proof that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
“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 last month.
Trump is dealing with a number of high-stakes decisions, including planned talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and an upcoming deadline to extend sanctions relief under the Iran nuclear deal.
Just last week, Trump replaced his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with his CIA director Mike Pompeo. The president said after firing Tillerson said there were other firing in the near future.
“I’m really at a point where we’re getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want,” Trump said.