John Bolton’s dramatic dismissal from White House marred by controversy


When it comes to international diplomacy, John Bolton had a fairly cut and dry reputation.

Bolton, who served in both the Trump and George W. Bush White Houses, was known as a war hawk who had a particular penchant for wishing to carve up the Middle East.  Given President Trump’s focus on diplomatic negotiations, particularly in instances involving nations long at odds with the United States, the relationship between the two seemed destined for turbulence.

Add in a dash of conflict with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Bolton’s presence seemed to become a recipe for disaster.

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But the inevitable departure of Bolton wasn’t the truly interesting piece to this political puzzle.  Rather, it was who decided that he was leaving that has observers scratching their heads.

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Mr. Trump and Bolton differed on whether Bolton offered to resign or was effectively fired. The president announced on Twitter that his top national security official had resigned at his request, while Bolton insisted he offered his resignation.

“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…I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week,” Mr. Trump wrote.

That’s not who Bolton saw it, however.

Bolton swiftly responded to Mr. Trump on Twitter, saying that he had offered to resign Monday night.

“I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow,'” Bolton wrote, slightly contradicting Mr. Trump’s account that he had asked for Bolton’s resignation.

Judging by the tone of Bolton’s own words, the dissonance within the West Wing was palpable.

Bolton’s resignation letter, obtained by CBS News, was extremely brief.

“I hereby resign, effective immediately, as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. Thank you for having afforded me this opportunity to serve our country,” it reads.

The latest flare-up between Bolton and the administration had come as Iran began a campaign of intimidation in the Middle East, harassing the region’s oil industry and downing a US drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

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