"A national security strategy developed by John Bolton will surely and inevitably lead to more war."
—Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)Though the White House has pushed back on the reporting, news Thursday night that President Donald Trump is ready to jettison national security adviser H.R. McMaster triggered alarm bells over the prospect that the ultra-hawkish Bolton could soon be welcomed into one of the nation's most powerful positions, which doesn't require Senate confirmation.
According to the Washington Post, Trump is "actively discussing potential replacements" for McMaster, and Bolton—former acting ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush—is believed to be at the top of his list. The New York Times independently confirmed the Post's reporting.
While Trump is apparently quite concerned about Bolton's mustache—which he reportedly considers a "sensitive subject"—the president doesn't find Bolton's constant warmongering on television or in the pages of major newspapers disturbing in the slightest. In fact, he sees it as a huge plus.
"We need you in here, John," Trump reportedly told Bolton during a meeting in the Oval Office last week.
"Reaction to Trump's personnel machinations can sometimes be hyperbolic, but John Bolton being anywhere close to the locus of American military power is truly a civilization-threatening disaster."
—Michael TraceyLawmakers and analysts familiar with Bolton's decades-long history of demanding aggressive U.S. military action across the globe reacted with horror at the very real possibility that Bolton could soon occupy a position of tremendous influence over U.S. foreign policy.
"A national security strategy developed by John Bolton will surely and inevitably lead to more war," Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) wrote on Twitter Thursday. "I will do everything in my power to stop warmonger John Bolton from becoming national security adviser."
Other commentators echoed Lee, arguing that Bolton in the White House could result in "a civilization-threatening disaster."
Reaction to Trump's personnel machinations can sometimes be hyperbolic, but John Bolton being anywhere close to the locus of American military power is truly a civilization-threatening disaster
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) March 16, 2018
McMaster is out. If John Bolton is in, well, if you liked the Iraq War, you’re gonna love the Iran and Korean ones. https://t.co/ljQVsHwXOb
— Will Fischer (@will_c_fischer) March 16, 2018
Rumored McMaster/Bolton swap very worrisome but let’s be clear: Bolton (& Pompeo) are not pariahs inside Beltway. AEI, FDD, WSJ oped page, etc., are part of establishment too (unfortunately). This is the return of Cheneyism, not the triumph of Trumpism.
— Stephen Walt (@stephenWalt) March 16, 2018