Tag Archives: National Security Adviser

Trump turns a ‘zero’ into a ‘hero’

Donald Trump’s unique ability is on display once again.

The president of the United States has this way – at least in my own biased way – of turning political zeroes into heroes.

Take the case of John Bolton, the former national security adviser who quit or was fired because of disagreements with the president.
Bolton is not shy in the least about expressing his views on worldly matters. I guess he got into trouble with the president because he gave Trump advice he didn’t want to hear.

Bolton has said in recent days that he didn’t think the president should meet with the Afghan terrorists known as the Taliban at Camp David on the eve of the 9/11 terrorist attack commemoration because it would, in Bolton’s eyes, dishonor the memory of the victims we lost on that terrible day.

Trump didn’t want to hear it. He also didn’t want to hear a lot of things that Bolton had to say.

So now Bolton is gone. The president has appointed another individual to offer him “advice” on how to protect the nation against our enemies. I doubt he’ll listen to the new man any more than he listened to the three previous national security advisers; I’ll pass on judging his relationship with the first guy, Michael Flynn, because he was gone after just 24 days in office.

I suspect we haven’t heard the last of John Bolton.

Hey, don’t misunderstand me. I didn’t think much of Bolton’s appointment when Trump made it. I think even less, though, of the man who selected him.

So, keep talking, John Bolton.

Bolton is gone; the problem remains: it’s POTUS

John Bolton has left the building, the White House.

Fine. Good riddance. However, the former national security adviser isn’t the problem. The national security risk remains with the guy who appointed him to the office he has just departed in a huff: Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States.

Trump said Bolton made too many decision with which he disagreed. What’s most stunning, though, is that Bolton did not want the president to meet with Taliban terrorists on the eve of the nation’s 9/11 commemoration. Trump seemed to call that a “big mistake.”

Moreover, then we hear from Trump that Bolton drew the ire of North Korean tyrant/dictator/murderer Kim Jong Un. Trump said Kim “couldn’t tolerate” Bolton … as if it should matter whether a Marxist tyrant should have to tolerate a U.S. national security adviser.

Bolton is the third national security adviser to leave the Trump administration. The first was Michael Flynn, who left after 24 days for allegedly lying to the FBI about that “Russia thing.” Then H.R. McMaster, an Army lieutenant general and a brilliant military strategist, resigned over differences with the president.

Now it’s Bolton who’s been shown the door.

These presidential appointees come and go.

However, the problem remains with the individual who called on them in the first place.

Another of the ‘best people’ becomes ‘not bright’

I’m confused.

Donald Trump told us he would surround himself with “the best people” while he settled into the presidency of the United States. Then whenever they leave — often after disputing with the president — they become dummies.

So it has been with John Bolton, the former national security adviser, who quit suddenly this week — or perhaps he was fired.

Bolton is a well-known foreign-policy hawk with whom the president reportedly had disagreements.

Now he’s gone.

Does the president let the issue go? Does he move on? Does he look ahead exclusively to finding the next national security adviser, who would become No. 4 in that office since Trump took office?

Heavens no!

Trump told reporters that Bolton isn’t “bright.” He said Bolton made some “big mistakes.”

Good grief, dude. Trump selected the national security adviser, who isn’t subject to Senate confirmation. He picks all the White House aides. He vows upon picking them that they’re best at what they do. Then they run afoul of the president, at which time they become worthless.

Is this how Donald Trump defines the “best people”?

Bolton quits … or was fired … which is it?

What do you know about this?

John Bolton, Donald Trump’s third national security adviser, is gone. He was either (a) fired by the president or (b) quit all by himself, of his own volition.

Whichever way Bolton’s tenure ended really isn’t critical here. The critical element is this: Donald Trump cannot work with individuals who seek to give him any sort of critical advice with which he might disagree.

Thus, Bolton has hit the road.

Trump, Bolton hit the skids

I won’t mourn the loss of John Bolton. I dislike his world view. He’s a warmongering hardliner. However, reports are surfacing that the national security guru disagreed with Trump’s decision to meet with the Taliban, the terrorists with whom the United States went to war after 9/11.

I reckon that Bolton told Trump of his disagreement with that call, so the president canned him, or asked him to quit, or perhaps Bolton offered to quit and Trump agreed.

What a circus? What a carnival?

Who in the world would dare to work with this president under any circumstance?

So now Donald Trump is without an individual who can give him the kind of unvarnished national security advice he needs.

Pass the popcorn. The clown show goes on.

Trump fibs, ‘er, lies once again about Michael Flynn

Donald Trump just cannot stop blaming Barack Obama for mistakes he makes.

He said today that the former president never informed him about the risk he was taking by hiring Michael Flynn as his national security adviser.

D’oh! Except that the former president did warn the current president: Don’t hire this guy; he’s trouble.

Oh, but then Trump said “no one” warned him about Flynn, the retired Army three-star general who had gotten tangled up with Russians involved in that effort to undermine the U.S. election in 2016.

Trump wrote on Twitter: It now seems the General Flynn was under investigation long before was common knowledge. It would have been impossible for me to know this but, if that was the case, and with me being one of two people who would become president, why was I not told so that I could make a change?

Doggone it, anyhow! Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates also warned the president-elect about Flynn being possibly “compromised” by the Russians. Trump’s reaction was to get rid of Yates.

Flynn joined the administration as national security adviser and lasted 24 days before Trump fired him! Why? For lying to the FBI and to Vice President Pence about his relationships with those pesky Russians.

However, Trump just cannot — or will not — get his facts straight.

Barack Obama warned him about Flynn. So did Sally Yates.

The new president wasn’t paying attention!

Your opinion most certainly matters, Mr. Bolton

Uh, John Bolton? Hello?

I have taken in recent months to addressing the president directly with my blog posts. I’ll direct these remarks to you.

You say your opinion “doesn’t matter.” Hey, you’re the friggin’ national security adviser. It most certainly does matter.

Donald Trump gave North Korean dictator/tyrant Kim Jong Un a pass on what he knew about Otto Warmbier’s imprisonment and then his death. His statement that he takes Kim “at his word” that he knew nothing about it is absurd on its face.

I would hope that you know better as the national security adviser.

You’re known as a hardliner. You’re a tough guy. Tough on Iran. Tough on the United Nations. Tough on the Islamic State and al-Qaida.

You’re also the third national security adviser to work for this president. He burned through Michael Flynn and H.R. McMaster quickly. Then he brought you aboard, albeit over the objection of many of us out here. I admit to being one of those skeptics.

But you’re in the hot seat now. You have been given the responsibility of providing the commander in chief with the best national security advice he can get. If only he’d listen.

I happen to believe that your word is as valuable as any that Donald Trump is going to receive as he considers what to do about this and that threat to our national security.

Kim Jong Un is a bizarre tyrant whose hand is in every aspect of government in the country he rules with untold cruelty.

I get that you don’t want to “contradict” the president. You surely want to keep your job. It’s a big job, indeed, Mr. Bolton.

I’m just going to ask you to give Donald Trump the candid advice he needs to hear. One thing you ought to tell him is this:

“Uh, Mr. President. Don’t take Kim Jong Un’s word on anything. And for crying out loud, stop saying out loud that you ‘like’ this murderous tyrant. You cannot possibly ‘like’ an overfed tyrant who is allowing the people he rules to starve to death.”

Flynn gets the leniency he would have denied others

The Robert Mueller Drama has taken an astonishing turn.

The special counsel today recommended that former national security adviser Michael Flynn receive zero prison time as payback for the “substantial” contribution he has made in Mueller’s investigation into whether Donald Trump’s presidential colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system.

What we don’t know is what Mueller gained precisely from Flynn, the key Trump aide who quit after 24 days as national security adviser. He had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about what he knew about the campaigns contacts with the Russians.

Mueller, though, apparently has received a treasure trove of information from Flynn. Hence, the no-prison recommendation from the special counsel.

Think of the irony for a moment.

It was the same Michael Flynn who stood before the Republican National Convention in 2016 and led a chorus of chants to “Lock her up!” in reference to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s problems associated with her use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state.

Flynn had no problem yelling right along with the GOP faithful to throw Clinton behind bars. Due process? Who needs it? Not the Republican faithful or the retired Army lieutenant general who led their chants in Cleveland.

Flynn’s downfall after a distinguished career as an Army officer was shocking, but deserved. He did plead guilty to committing a felony, which was lying to the FBI about a criminal investigation.

I would give damn near anything to know what’s under the redaction marks in the sentencing memo that Mueller released today. For now I’ll settle for presuming that Mueller is still working on the details of what he has assembled for his final report.

Something tells me it’s likely to make the president squirm.

Bolton has lost his spine

I am going to concur with Paul Begala, a former Bill Clinton political confidant and pal, who says national security adviser John Bolton has shown himself to be a coward.

Yes, Begala is a partisan. For that matter, I suppose you can argue that I am, too. Sure, I lean in the same direction as Begala, but I’ve never worked for politicians.

Begala is angry that Bolton has chosen to avoid listening to the recording of slain U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi being slaughtered by his Saudi Arabian captors, who killed him in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Reporters asked Bolton why he hadn’t listen to it. He said: “Unless you speak Arabic, what are you going to get from it?”

Begala responded in an essay: A lot. You will, presumably, hear struggle. You will hear beating, according to a Turkish newspaper, citing Turkish security sources. You will hear torture. You will hear an innocent man’s final, desperate words: “Release my arm! What do you think you are doing?” You will hear one of the alleged conspirators, who allegedly put on Khashoggi’s clothes to act as a body double, comment that “it is spooky to wear the clothes of a man whom we killed 20 minutes ago.”

Bolton didn’t want to hear that. Nor did he want to ask an interpreter to translate it for him. He said he could “read a transcript” if he could find an Arabic speaker to listen to it.

Read the essay here

Bolton’s crass and callous response defies human decency, in my humble view.

He is the national security adviser, for crying out loud! He needs to hear the screams of a journalist based in Washington, D.C., a Saudi national and a champion of political dissent. He had the temerity to insist on reforms in the land of his birth . . . and this is the response reportedly from the crown prince who allegedly ordered the man’s murder.

The CIA has determined that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s murder. The president has blown that assessment off. So, too, I guess has John Bolton, choosing to join Donald Trump in the hideous game of disparaging the nation’s intelligence experts.

Cowardly.

‘Libya model’ in play … or not?

That didn’t take long.

Donald Trump brings John Bolton aboard just a few weeks ago to be national security adviser. Bolton, a noted hard-liner, then tell Fox News that the president will follow the “Libya model” in shaping U.S. policy with regard to North Korea’s nuclear program.

What does the president then do? In Bolton’s presence, he tells reporters he isn’t following the Libya model, that he’s going to craft a unique policy as it concerns efforts to persuade North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons.

“The Libyan model isn’t a model that we have at all, when we’re thinking of North Korea (DPRK),” Trump told reporters at the White House before meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

You see, the Libya model didn’t work out well for the late Moammar Gadhafi, the strongman who used to run Libya.

Rebels revolted there, overthrew Gadhafi, then captured him and dragged off to some location — and then killed him! He’s dead, man!

Do you think North Korea’s strongman, Kim Jong Un, wants to hear some comparison to the Libya model? I, um, do not believe so.

Trump is trying to preserve some semblance of hope that he and Kim will actually meet next month in Singapore to discuss a whole range of issues. It’s a big deal, this meeting. U.S. presidents and North Korean dictators have never met face to face.

Trump’s rhetoric about Kim has transformed from threats to “Little Rocket Man” to high praise for him as someone interested in forging an actual peace treaty with South Korea.

Then his national security adviser, Bolton, steps in it by referring to an event that ended badly for another world leader.

Let’s get our nation’s message straight, shall we?

‘Mad Dog’ can’t work with Bolton? Who knew?

Imagine my non-surprise to hear this tidbit on a drizzly Texas Panhandle day. It is that Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis told associates he isn’t sure he can work with John Bolton were he to be named national security adviser to the Donald J. Trump administration.

Who knew? Yes?

You see, Mattis is a grownup. He’s a retired Marine Corps general with combat experience. He knows war. He’s seen it up close. He’s been to hell and lived to talk about it … were he so inclined.

Bolton is more of a “chicken hawk.” He doesn’t have the kind of real-world experience that Mattis has piled up. Yet he stands ready to recommend war at almost any turn. The Hill reports that White House chief of staff John Kelly, another retired Marine general, also is unhappy with Bolton’s selection as national security adviser.

Well, now the president has appointed Bolton to be the national security adviser. The decision appears to have isolated Mattis, who had a kindred spirit in the national security adviser’s chair for about a year. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is stepping down as national security adviser and reportedly is retiring from the Army.

He and Mattis double-teamed as a reasonable tandem of advisers who were willing to advise Trump against acting rashly — even though they weren’t always able to persuade the president to follow their advice.

Gen. McMaster is now gone. Is “Mad Dog” Mattis the next grownup to be shown the door?

Chaos is king in the Trump White House.