Incoming national security adviser John Bolton, the third under President Trump’s administration, reportedly has plans for a “massive shakeup” at the National Security Council that involves the removal of “dozens” of White House officials, according to a Foreign Policy report Friday.
When he replaces current National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster next month, the former ambassador to the United Nations and fierce foreign policy hawk will reportedly start with holdovers from the Obama administration, multiple sources told Foreign Policy.
Bolton is reportedly targeting “officials believed to have been disloyal to Trump, those who have leaked about the president to the media, his predecessor’s team, and those who came in under Obama.”
“Bolton can and will clean house,” one former White House official told Foreign Policy, while another source said “he is going to remove almost all the political [appointees] McMaster brought in.”
A second former White House official bluntly warned that “everyone who was there during Obama years should start packing their shit.”
Bolton reportedly held a call with longtime advisors Thursday evening soon after Trump tapped him for his new role, which included GOP consultant Matthew Freedman who will “help manage the transition.” Freedman, however, disputed any knowledge of the call and told Foreign Policy that “there is no list.”
Although it’s unclear if Bolton would get on board with “the staff purge his allies and advisors are pushing,” some names that have been reportedly floated around include deputy national security advisor for strategy Nadia Schadlow and McMaster deputy Ricky Waddell.
A source close to Bolton told Foreign Policy that any staffing changes would “take time, given the need to process security clearances,” which means Bolton’s current staff will be in place for the summit meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in May.