Trump is reportedly irritated with some of his security advisers, including John Bolton over their push for war with Iran. The administration denies the report.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
President Donald Trump is reportedly unhappy with some of his top advisers over their readiness to plunge into a war with Iran, The Washington Post reports on Wednesday.
“Trump grew angry last week and over the weekend about what he sees as warlike planning that is getting ahead of his own thinking,” said the Post, sourcing an unnamed senior administration official who was privy to conversations between President Trump and National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“They are getting way out ahead of themselves, and Trump is annoyed,” the Post quotes the anonymous official as saying, adding that the source said the president “is not comfortable with all this ‘regime change’ talk,” which contains a similar ring to rhetoric prior to ousting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 2003.
The official singles out John Bolton, who he says is “just in a different place from Trump.” Bolton, a longtime critic of the Iranian regime, joined the administration as the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs on April 8, 2018.
Bolton has called for regime change in the past. In a 2017 speech before the Free Iran Gathering in Paris, he 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, in March, 2019, Bolton denied that his intention is to lead the U.S. into conflict with Iran. After Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused Bolton of targeting Iran to the point of war, Bolton said, “You know, it’s completely ridiculous. I think what that interview showed was a carefully prepared propaganda script by the Iranians. This is their effort to try and sow disinformation in the American body politic.”
“The fact is the president policy on Iran has been clear awhile before I arrived in the administration. It is to put maximum pressure on the regime to get it to change its behavior. And I think it’s working and I think that’s what they’re worried about,” Bolton told Fox News.
National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis, when asked by the Post about reports of President Trump’s dissatisfaction with his advisers, said “This reporting doesn’t accurately reflect reality.”
President Trump also denied there were internal tensions within his administration on the issue. He tweeted on Wednesday, “There is no infighting whatsoever. Different opinions are expressed and I make a decisive and final decision — it is a very simple process. All sides, views, and policies are covered. I’m sure that Iran will want to talk soon.”
Trump does appear to prefer a negotiated solution to the escalating conflict with Iran, as the Post reports. “What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me,” the president said in the White House on May 9.
The White House has passed a phone number along to the Swiss to share with the Iranians should they want to call President Trump directly, CNN reported last week.
On Monday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan offered several military plans to the administration, according to The New York Times. “The uppermost option called for deploying 120,000 troops, which would take weeks or months to complete,” the paper reported.
A week prior to that report, the U.S. sent a Navy carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence that Iran may be planning an attack on American forces in the Mideast.