Trump described Bolton as a “hawk” in a recent interview.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
“John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him he’d take on the whole world at one time,” President Donald Trump said in an interview with Sunday’s Meet the Press.
The president also said, “But that doesn’t matter because I want both sides… I want both hawks and pigeons.”
However, on Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump had strongly criticized Bolton in a closed-door meeting. “These people want to drag us into war, it’s disgusting, we do not need wars anymore,” Trump said speaking of his inner circle.
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, who is currently in Israel for a tripartite meeting between the U.S., Israel and Russia, is known for his tough views on Iran. At a July 2017 Paris conference of Iranian exiles, Bolton said “The outcome of the president’s policy review should be to determine that the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 revolution will not last until its 40th birthday.”
However, Bolton strongly defended the president’s decision to hold off on a planned attack on Iran in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. Navy drone last week, saying don’t mistake U.S. “prudence and discretion” for weakness. “Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake US prudence and discretion for weakness. No one has granted them a hunting license in the Middle East,” Bolton said on Sunday in Jerusalem during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Bolton reiterated the president’s oft-repeated view that Iran must never be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons and that its “acts of aggression against Israel, our allies in the Arabian Gulf and against U.S, personnel and assets across the Middle East, are not signs of a nation seeking peace.”
On Sunday, the president told Meet the Press, “I’m not looking for war and if there is it’ll be obliteration like you’ve never seen before but I’m not looking to do that. But you can’t have a nuclear weapon.”
Speaking about his decision to refrain from striking Iran, Trump said he had an off-the-shelf plan – “I have so many targets, you wouldn’t believe” – and that he hadn’t yet given the green light but about a half hour before the operation he asked how many would be killed. After learning that 150 Iranians would die in the attack, he said “I thought about it for a second and they shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it and here we are sitting with 150 dead people.”