The Trump Administration cut yet another member of its team during the week of 9/11, indicating the President is preparing to shift his foreign policy strategy.
National Security Adviser John Bolton was formally asked to leave his post on September 10, 2019. Bolton, a former ambassador to the United Nations who served in the last Bush Administration, represented the more hawkish side of the Republican Party’s foreign policy agenda — often referred to as the Bush Doctrine.
President Donald Trump, by contrast, ran on a far more restrained approach to foreign policy, and signaled support for ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and other theaters. In a statement posted on social media, Trump indicated that he and Bolton were just too ideologically separated.
I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2019
The President went on to say that he thanked Bolton for his service, and that he will be hiring a new national security adviser next week.
The move received a mixed reaction from the political class. Conservatives who prefer the United States to take a more aggressive approach to foreign policy, such as containing Iranian aggression and taking a tougher stance on North Korea and other countries, believe Bolton’s firing to be a huge mistake. Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro was one of several right-wing pundits to dismay the decision.
This is terrible for the White House. Bolton was correct about the Taliban; State wasn’t. Bolton has been a hawkish voice for a tough national security policy, and his ouster likely signals that Trump’s approach will be significantly softer from this point forward. https://t.co/g13Shw46eW
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 10, 2019
The move did garner praise from the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, which felt that Bolton represented the worst of the Bush years. Bolton was heavily supportive of the war in Iraq, a continued war in Afghanistan, and a more aggressive stance against Iran. President Trump campaigned against the war in Iraq in 2016, echoing the concerns of many who believed that American military resources were being stretched too thin.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, seen by many to be the face of the libertarian movement within the Republican Party’s ranks, celebrated Trump’s decision on Twitter.
I commend @realDonaldTrump for this necessary action. The President has great instincts on foreign policy and ending our endless wars. He should be served by those who share those views. https://t.co/XEBwzySxac
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) September 10, 2019
Of course, this divide within the GOP is nothing new. Since the end of the Bush Administration, the Republican Party has been split between those who want to continue a more military-centric agenda, and those who believe that such a strategy comes with unnecessary costs. Ironically, plenty of Democrats who opposed Bolton’s initial hiring are also critical of his firing. If you think this makes no sense, you’re not alone.
Laura Ingraham took Democrats to task over this during a recent Fox News broadcast. Check out her commentary below.