Ex-National Security Adviser John Bolton’s former colleagues admitted in a press conference just hours after his ousting that there were “definitely” areas of disagreement between themselves and Bolton when it came to foreign policy.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared alongside Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the press conference, which was originally supposed to include Bolton. Yet Trump abruptly fired Bolton on Twitter Tuesday afternoon just before the presser, issuing a scathing statement that declared Bolton’s presence was “no longer needed at the White House.”
Pompeo dodged a question about how the foreign policy team might function without the national security adviser, but he admitted there were areas of disagreement amongst the team.
“There were many times ambassador Bolton and I disagreed, that’s to be sure, but that’s true with lots of people with whom I interact,” he said. “My mission set is always to make sure that, as I run the Department of State, is to deliver America’s diplomacy and to work with the team, whether it’s the Treasury or the President’s staff, to make sure we get good outcomes. I know everyone has talked about this for an awfully long time. There were definitely places where ambassador and I, Bolton and I had different views about how we should proceed.”
Neither would get into specifics of those disagreements, but they did reiterate that President Trump had a different view of how to deal with Iran than Bolton.
When asked if they were blindsided by the news of Bolton’s departure — Bolton himself apparently was — Pompeo laughed.
“I’m never surprised,” he said, “and I don’t mean that on just this issue.”
Pompeo and Mnuchin admit there were "definitely" areas of disagreement with Bolton pic.twitter.com/3gnXeedhu2
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) September 10, 2019