President Trump abruptly fired administration bad boy John Bolton on Tuesday, sending the hawkish national security adviser on his way in a catty tweet that let the world know how widely disliked he was in the White House. But Bolton swears Trump is lying and that he actually quit and Trump didn’t want him to.
In a seething afternoon social media ambush that took even some Trump aides by surprise, the president said he told Bolton on Monday night that his “services are no longer needed” and suggested his ouster from the Oval Office cool kids clique wasn’t really a loss because he “disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions” anyway.
“As did others in the Administration,” Trump added.
However, unlike most administration officials who have been shown the door, Bolton didn’t go quietly and quickly thumbed out a tweet clapping back at the president’s version of events.
“I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow,’” Bolton posted, adding he submitted his resignation Tuesday morning without a nudge from his brash boss.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham suggested Bolton was lying, telling the Daily News in an email: “The president asked that Bolton’s resignation be given to him this morning. It was.”
But Bolton’s exit caught some White House aides off guard, as the press office sent out a guidance shortly before Trump’s tweet saying Bolton would brief reporters later in the day alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Grisham blamed that snafu on a internal communications hiccup.
“The timing of the guidance has nothing to do with anything. The staff who distributed that guidance were not aware,” she said.
Pompeo, who has clashed with Bolton on national security issues, threw the ex-national security adviser under the bus while addressing reporters at the briefing that he was supposed to attend.
“There were many times Ambassador Bolton and I disagreed. That’s to be sure,” Pompeo said.
Mnuchin, taking a dig at Bolton’s vociferous support of U.S. military intervention overseas, chimed in: “The president’s view on the Iraq War and ambassador Bolton’s was very different.”
Bolton — who loudly backed the Iraq War as President George W. Bush’s United Nations ambassador, holds deeply hawkish views on Iran and butted heads repeatedly with Trump over his willingness to play softball with traditional adversaries like Russia and North Korea — joined the administration in April 2018 as Trump’s third national security adviser.