Trump fires pro-Israel national security adviser John Bolton

The American president tweeted on Tuesday that Bolton’s “services were no longer needed at the White House.”

By World Israel News Staff and AP

President Donald Trump fired staunchly pro-Israel national security adviser John Bolton, making the news of his departure official on Tuesday through a post on Twitter.

Trump tweeted that he told Bolton Monday night that his services were no longer needed at the White House. He says Bolton submitted his resignation on Tuesday morning.

Trump tweeted that he “disagreed strongly” with many of Bolton’s suggestions, “as did others in the administration.”

“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,” Trump added.

Bolton responded in a tweet of his own that he offered to resign Monday “and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow.'”

Trump and Bolton had reportedly clashed on a number of policy issues, including the optimal approach to confronting the Iranian threat in the Middle East.

Bolton’s ouster came as a surprise to many in the White House. Just an hour before Trump’s tweet, the press office announced that Bolton would join Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a briefing.

Bolton was always an unlikely pick to be Trump’s third national security adviser, with a world view seemingly at odds with the president’s “America First” policy.

Bolton supported the Iraq War as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under George W. Bush and even briefly considered running for president in 2016, in part to make the case against the isolationism that Trump advocates.

Inside the administration he advocated caution on the president’s whirlwind rapprochement with North Korea and against Trump’s decision last year to pull U.S. troops out of Syria. He masterminded a quiet campaign inside the administration and with allies abroad to convince Trump to keep U.S. forces in Syria to counter the remnants of the Islamic State and Iranian influence in the region.

Bolton was named Trump’s third national security adviser in April 2018 after the departure of Army Gen. H.R. McMaster.

Disapproval of Taliban summit

The news of Bolton’s departure arrived on the heels of a cancelled summit with the Taliban terror group and Afghan leaders at Camp David aimed at ending America’s involvement in their conflict. Bolton had registered his disapproval of a potential agreement with the Taliban.

Earlier on Monday, Trump announced that the U.S. peace talks with the Taliban are now “dead,” two days after he abruptly canceled the secret meeting.

Trump’s remark to reporters at the White House suggested he sees no point in resuming a nearly yearlong effort to reach a political settlement with the Taliban, whose protection of Al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan prompted the U.S. to take action after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.

Trump has been talking of a need to withdraw U.S. troops from the “endless war” in Afghanistan since his 2016 presidential campaign. And he said anew in a tweet on Monday, “We have been serving as policemen in Afghanistan, and that was not meant to be the job of our Great Soldiers, the finest on earth.”

Some administration officials, including Bolton, did not back the agreement with the Taliban as it was written, a U.S. official familiar with the negotiations said. They didn’t think the Taliban can be trusted. Bolton advised the president to draw down the U.S. force to 8,600 — enough to counter terror threats — and “let it be” until a better deal could be hammered out, the official said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Taliban agreed to break with Al Qaeda — something that past administrations have failed to get the Taliban to do.

The terror group hosted Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as he masterminded the 9/11 attacks in 2001. After the attacks, the U.S. ousted the Taliban, which had ruled Afghanistan with a harsh version of Islamic law from 1996 to 2000.

The U.S.-Taliban agreement was to be followed by Taliban talks with Afghans inside and outside the government to chart a political future for the country.