President Trump has outdone himself, having picked one of the most risky, warmongering, racist and, frankly, asinine characters in Washington's foreign policy establishment to replace H.R. McMaster as national security adviser - John Bolton.
"National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton had dismissed reports of McMaster's departure, telling CNN on March 1 that Trump had dismissed stories of McMaster's ouster as "'fake news, ' and told McMaster that he is doing a great job".
In a late Thursday statement, Bolton called the appointment "an honor", saying he looks "forward to working with President Trump and his leadership team" to "make our country safer at home and stronger overseas". I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend.
After his appointment, Bolton tried to distance himself from his past statements.
Shortly after the news broke, Bolton said on Fox News that he wasn't expecting an announcement to be made Thursday afternoon.
McMaster told The New York Times a year ago that Trump's unorthodox approach "has moved a lot of us out of our comfort zone, me included".
And The Diplomat noted that the timing is odd, coming as it does two weeks after Trump accepted an invitation from Kim Jon-un for a historic US-North Korea summit.
A strong supporter of the Iraq war and an advocate for aggressive use of American power, Bolton was unable to win Senate confirmation after his nomination to the United Nations post alienated many Democrats and even some Republicans.More news: Lexington Youth Lend Their Voices To Anti-Gun Violence March
The rise of the mustached Bolton, a former United Nations ambassador under President George W. Bush who served in three federal agencies under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, is likely to herald a rightward shift in Trump's foreign policy and an embrace of more hard-line policies.
Trump was furious - asking White House aides and allies if they thought it was "a McMaster person" who had leaked it to the press, a source familiar with how things unfolded said. His selection, along with the nomination of the hard-line C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, as secretary of state, shows the degree to which Mr. Trump is indulging his worst nationalistic instincts. Two sources familiar with Bolton's relationship with Trump said one of the big unknowns was how Bolton's approach to Russian Federation will go over with the president or if he's even aware of those differences. "The timeline was expedited as they both felt it was important to have the new team in place, instead of constant speculation", a White House official said. Trump needed a cabinet full of lookers with innovative fashion sense, like Steve Bannon.
The new National Security Adviser has been known to have a harsh position on North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. This work and those achievements will ensure that America builds on its economic and military advantages.
Another Bolton super PAC ad said "our world is becoming an increasingly risky place", citing Iraq, Russia and ISIS, before asking "what's next?"
In recent years, Trump has denounced the US invasion of Iraq, describing it as a waste of lives and money - though his contemporaneous views were less clear.
Trump reciprocated, noting that the general "served his country with distinction" for more than three decades. Bolton felt that Bush had become too soft overseas on hostile states such as North Korea and Iran, and he has yet to be placated on either front.
Of course, Bolton is just as opposed to any deal with Pyongyang - and just as willing to use force to try to end the North Korean nuclear program.