Trump ousts national security adviser McMaster, picks ‘hardline’ Bolton, a ‘true friend of Israel’

Just over a week since replacing Secretary of State Tillerson with Pompeo, Trump announced the ouster of National Security adviser McMaster and the appointment of Bolton as national security adviser. Both new officials have a hardline approach to Iran and North Korea and are pro-Israel.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff

Charging ahead with the dramatic remaking of his White House, President Donald Trump announced the ouster of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, to be replaced by former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, a foreign policy hawk entering a White House facing key decisions on Iran and North Korea.

“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,” Trump tweeted on Thursday.

After weeks of speculation about McMaster’s future, Trump and the respected three-star general put a positive face on the Thursday departure, making no reference to the growing public friction between them. Trump tweeted that McMaster had done “an outstanding job & will always remain my friend.”

The role of national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation.

The White House has said the president is seeking to put new foreign policy leaders in place ahead of a not-yet-scheduled meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. Another consideration appears to be the upcoming May 12 deadline to recertify the Iran nuclear agreement.

Bolton has been a force in Republican foreign policy circles for decades, having served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. He has since been a senior fellow of the conservative American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, known for his hardline approach to North Korea as well as his strong condemnation of the Obama administration’s policies on Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Tension between Trump and McMaster had grown increasingly public. Last month, Trump took issue with McMaster’s characterization of Russian meddling in the 2016 election after the national security adviser told the Munich Security Summit that interference was beyond dispute.

“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 Feb. 17, alluding to frequent GOP allegations of impropriety by Democrats.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s exit just over a week ago – to be replaced by CIA director John Pompeo – also forecast trouble for McMaster, who had aligned himself with the embattled secretary of state in seeking to soften some of Trump’s most dramatic foreign policy impulses.

In a statement released by the White House, McMaster said he would also be requesting retirement from the US Army effective this summer, adding that afterward he “will leave public service.”

Meanwhile, some among the Israeli leadership, particularly representatives of the right, were quick to celebrate Bolton’s appointment, saying it’s another indication of the Trump administration’s close relationship with Israel. Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, said Bolton is a “true friend of Israel going back many years.”

“President Trump continues to appoint true friends of Israel to senior positions, and John Bolton is one of the most prominent of them,” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said Friday morning. “Bolton has great experience and original thinking, and I wish him great success in his position.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted, “Great appointment of Amb. John Bolton, an extraordinary security expert, experienced diplomat and a stalwart friend of Israel. Good luck John!”