Rift Between Pompeo And Bolton At Heart Of North Korea Summit Failure

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17: (AFP OUT) John Bolton, national security advisor, from right, Jim Mattis, U.S. secretary of defense, and Mike Pompeo, U.S. secretary of state, listen during a meeting with U.S. President Dona... WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17: (AFP OUT) John Bolton, national security advisor, from right, Jim Mattis, U.S. secretary of defense, and Mike Pompeo, U.S. secretary of state, listen during a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), not pictured, in the Cabinet Room of the White House May 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. The White House said the two leaders will be discussing the upcoming NATO Summit in July. (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was reportedly blindsided by President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel the denuclearization summit with North Korea, and he blames National Security Adviser John Bolton for the summit’s failure, NBC News reported Thursday evening.

Just an hour before the cancellation was announced in a letter to Kim — which Trump reportedly dictated to Bolton — the State Department blasted out a press release to reporters, highlighting the work the department had done with other Asian counterparts in preparation for the meeting, initially set to take place in Singapore next month.

The decision was so unexpected that the White House didn’t have a chance to alert congressional leaders or foreign allies ahead of time and the letter went public while dozens of journalists were inside North Korea to witness the demolition of its nuclear test sites. Trump was reportedly eager to pull out of the denuclearization talks because he didn’t want North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to do it before him, NBC News reported.

Pompeo — who flew to Pyongyang two times since talks began and has met with Kim — reportedly blames Bolton for the erosion of trust between the two countries. In recent weeks, Bolton told the media that Trump would like to see the “Libya model” imposed on North Korea, which reportedly angered Kim, as Libya’s former leader was ousted from power and killed.

According to officials who spoke with NBC News, the pair have been at odds about the approach to the summit since talks began and Bolton was “integral” to Trump’s decision to back out.

Read NBC’s full report here. 

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