Donald Trump fires national security advisor John Bolton

  • Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

US President Donald Trump has fired his latest national security advisor John Bolton over disagreements.

The president announced the news in a series of tweets, stating: “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.”

“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 Bolton also tweeted his version of events with a little more brevity.

"I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, "Let's talk about it tomorrow."” it said.

This comes days after it emerged Mr Bolton opposed the president's plan to hold peace talks with the Taliban at Camp David - the courtyside vacation house for the POTUS.

Mr Bolton's ouster came as a surprise to many in the White House.

Just an hour before Trump's tweet, the press office announced that Bolton would join Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a briefing.

Hogan Gidley, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary, spoke to reporters and said: "John Bolton’s priorities and policies just don’t line up with the president’s."

Mr Gidley also announced Dr. Charles Kupperman will be acting national security advisor in the meantime.

John Bolton was supposed to join Mike Pompeo and Steve Mnuchin for this very White House briefing. Credit: White House

At the briefing which Mr Bolton was supposed to join Mr Pompeo and Mr Mnuchin, they defended the president's decision to fire Mr Bolton.

When asked whether the resignation was due to rumoured clashes between Mr Bolton and Mr Pompeo, Mr Pompeo replied: "There were definitely places Ambassador Bolton and I had different views about how we should proceed.

"My mission is that it’s always that I make sure the Department of State is to deliver America’s diplomacy."

Bolton was always an unlikely pick to be Trump's third national security adviser, with a world view seemingly ill-fit to the president's isolationist "America First" attitude.

The two have butted heads, as there were alleged clashes over diplomatic challenges against Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea.

Mr Bolton had always been critical of North Korea, particularly of their recent missile tests, while Mr Trump has always extended the olive branch to leader of the communist regime King Jong-un.

The president openly admired Russian president Vladimir Putin, whilst Mr Bolton has been fiercely critical of him.

Mr Bolton also conducted a quiet campaign inside the administration and with allies abroad to convince Trump to keep US forces in Syria to counter the remnants of the Islamic State and Iranian influence in the region.

Mr Bolton had always been publicly critical of North Korea. Credit: AP

The tensions between the two men allegedly ignited when the president called off airstrikes in Iran, which was supposed to be in retaliation to the downing of a surveillance drone.

Mr Bolton was supposedly in support of the airstrike.

Since the Iran oil tanker incident, Mr Trump has said he would meet with the Iranian president if the "circumstances were right", leading to more disagreements.

When asked whether his ousting could mean opportunities for President Trump and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to meet, Mr Mnuchin responded with: "Secretary Pompeo, myself and the president are completely aligned on our maximum pressure campaign."

John Bolton and Donald Trump with U.S. Service Members stationed in the UK earlier this year. Credit: The White House

Before that, Mr Bolton often espoused hawkish foreign policy views dating back to the Reagan administration and became a household name over his avid support for the Iraq War, as the US ambassador to the UN under George W. Bush.

Bolton even briefly considered running for president in 2016, in part to make the case against the isolationist pronouncements that Trump would come to embody.

John Bolton was US ambassador to the UN under George W. Bush. Credit: AP

Mr Bolton was named the president's third national security adviser in April 2018, after the departure of Army Gen. H.R. McMaster, who was also publicly shamed by Mr Trump on Twitter before he was fired.

He was Mr Trump's longest-serving national security advisor, lasting a year and a half.

The president's first advisor Michael Flynn lasted less than a month, before resigning amid scandal for misleading the FBI about his connections to Russian diplomats.