Aides and allies close to President Trump were not surprised by National Security Adviser John Bolton’s very public demise this week, believing most in Trump’s immediate orbit will eventually suffer some form of a fall-out with the mercurial president.
“There is no person that is part of the daily Trump decision-making process that can survive long term,” a former senior administration official told the Washington Post. “The President doesn’t like people to get good press. He doesn’t like people to get bad press. Yet he expects everyone to be relevant and important and supportive at all times. Even if a person could do all those things, the president would grow tired of anyone in his immediate orbit.”
But according to those close to Trump who spoke to the Post, Bolton never stood a chance in holding an amicable relationship with the President because he broke all the “unspoken rules” aides are expected to follow. Trump expects his aides to look the part, which Bolton never did — Trump reportedly hated his mustache and didn’t hire him initially because of it. Aides are also supposed to defend him to the media, which also didn’t bode well for Bolton, as he often found himself at odds with Trump over key foreign policy moves.
But, according to a Republican familiar with the relationship, Bolton’s worst flaw was “believing he could outmaneuver” Trump, in the Post’s words.
“Anybody who thinks they’re smart enough to manipulate Trump, they’re very foolish, and that’s what happens in this city,” Trump hype-man and former House speaker Newt Gringrich told the Post. “People mistake a willingness to eat cheeseburgers and drink Coke with being a buffoon, and he’s not a buffoon.”