John Bolton: Fired or Resigned

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By Eva Lynch

Following many reported disagreements, President Trump took to Twitter to announce that he asked National Security Adviser John Bolton to resign. 

Within a few minutes, John Bolton quickly tweeted his own side of the story, claiming that he had offered to resign and Trump declined to talk with him, prompting a “who broke up with who?” debate across the country.  

John Bolton’s firing follows a long string of firings which critics say have come to characterize the Trump administration: to work for President Trump is to never know when your last day will dawn or on whose terms it will be. Whether he resigned or was fired, National Security Adviser John Bolton no longer holds this title.

Commenting on the new vacancy, Trump says that there are five people who are in the running for the job, and he feels there are even more that would like the position, as well. However, this is incongruent with his track record thus far of filling in recently vacant positions in his cabinet. With open positions including the Chief of Staff, which has been vacant for 279 days to date, White House staff turnover specialists say Trump’s pickiness and his tendency for firing are to blame and will probably deter filling these vacancies for a while. 

Many aspects of this dispute are not surprising to those who have been keeping up with staff turnover thus far in Trump’s presidency, including the manner in which it was announced. Bolton’s tweet insinuates that Trump avoided discussing Bolton’s departure in person, which would align with his history of letting people go. 

Similar to the way he dismissed Bolton, Trump fired Rex Tillerson, former Secretary of State, and Reince Priebus, former Chief of Staff, over Twitter. Similarly, he recruited other members of his staff to fire others like former political aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, and former Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci. Allegedly, James Comey was notified of his dismissal by his own bodyguard.  

The Press Secretary statement regarding this issue cited recurring disagreements over policy as the reason for Bolton’s termination, to which Bolton responded via text message, that this statement is “flatly incorrect.” 

The most recent incident of policy disagreement between Bolton and Trump was reported last Sunday after Trump ignored Bolton’s advice to forego planning a meeting with Taliban representatives at Camp David. Previously, the two have argued over widely controversial topics.  AmoThese include the handling of North Korea, in which Bolton argues for increased aggression, while Trump continues to take advantage of photo-ops with Kim Jong-un. Likewise, regarding Iran, Bolton has pushed for a declaration of war, and Trump seems increasingly unenthused about engaging in yet another overseas dilemma.  

Student Brendan Carlson notes that Bolton’s and Trump’s disagreements may indicate a larger issue. 

“Trump’s firing of Bolton is an implication of much more than simply a few disagreements,” Carlson said. “It is Trump’s foreign policy clashing with traditional Republican ideology, embodied by Bolton.”

Overall, turnover analysts speculate that Trump’s only criterion for Bolton’s position was someone alongside whom he could bash Obama, a role which Bolton fit perfectly.  However, when they later discovered that this was the only commonality between their policies, Bolton’s departure was imminent. 

Critics hope President Trump amended and expanded his precedents for Bolton’s replacement before naming Robert O’Brien as Bolton’s successor. O’Brien was most recently in the news for his help in freeing rapper A$AP Rocky from prison in Sweden earlier this year. President Trump named O’Brien, who currently serves as the US hostage negotiator, as the fourth national security adviser in a tweet on Wednesday.  O’Brien’s first responsibility in his new position will be to accompany POTUS at next week’s meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, where they will discuss a major policy crisis following the attack on Saudi oil facilities.

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