Some senior White House officials and members of the National Security Council are pushing former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton as a replacement for ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House.
In an interview on ABC’s This Week Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) strongly opposed former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton as a potential replacement for Michael Flynn, who recently resigned from his post as national security adviser.
“I think the problem with John Bolton is he disagrees with President Trump’s foreign policy,” Paul said.
“He would be closer to John McCain’s foreign policy. John Bolton still believes the Iraq War was a good idea. He still believes regime change was a good idea. He still believes that nation building is a good idea,” the senator continued.
“My fear is that secret wars would be developing around the globe, and so I think he’d be a bad choice.” McCain was likewise wrong on Iraq and would lead the U.S. into “perpetual war” were he in charge.
Bolton’s name was previously floated for secretary of state or deputy secretary of state, possibilities Paul rejected in equally vehement terms, casting a Bolton hire as a regressive betrayal of Trump voters. One of Trump’s best attributes is “his opposition to the Iraq war and regime change,” Paul wrote in a November op-ed, while “Bolton was one of the loudest advocates of overthrowing Saddam Hussein and still stupefyingly insists it was the right call 13 years later.”
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Among Bolton’s most vocal supporters are senior administration officials loyal to Flynn and who are upset at the general’s firing. Multiple sources described an effort by these Flynn loyalists to ensure that Bolton is selected as his replacement.
President Donald Trump has not settled on a final selection yet and is also eyeing retired Army Gen. Keith Kellogg, who has been acting national security adviser since Flynn’s departure, as well as other candidates.
“There’s a strong inclination in the NSC towards the kind of experienced leadership Bolton would represent,” said one current official, who requested anonymity to speak freely about the situation. “He knows the ins and outs of D.C. but he’s not an establishment, Never Trump type.
There’s also a lot of respect for General Kellogg and KT McFarland, both of whom have really stepped up under challenging circumstances.”
Bolton, a senior figure in the George W. Bush administration, is well versed in the intricacies of government and would give the White House credibility at a time when the administration is under criticism.
“The one thing that makes Bolton more qualified than anyone else for the Trump era is that he has a veteran genius-level understanding of the organizational structure of our nation’s diplomatic and intelligence apparatus,” said one veteran foreign policy insider who is in close contact with multiple senior Trump administration national security figures.
Bolton’s staunchly conservative credentials and outspoken personality make him a favorite among those officials who championed Trump from the start of the 2016 campaign. Conservatives outside the administration would also cheer the appointment.
“One person I think would be very, very strong is John Bolton,” Senator Ted Cruz told CNN Friday.
“He’s someone who understands the world, he understands the threats of radical Islamic terrorism.”
How do you see someone supported by Ted Cruz but opposed by Rand Paul?