In Case You Forgot

Some John Bolton Gems From The Archives

Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, February 24, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Mike Theiler (Photo credit should read M... Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, February 24, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Mike Theiler (Photo credit should read MIKE THEILER/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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March 23, 2018 3:19 p.m.

President Trump’s new national security adviser, one of the Republican Party’s foremost warmongers, has long been on TPM’s radar. Of course, he played a key role in selling the Iraq War, and later served as President Bush’s ambassador to the UN, despite the fact that he couldn’t win Senate confirmation for the job.

We were onto him long before those foibles, however.

  • Back in 2002, Bolton wasn’t just claiming Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Cuba, he said, also had them. Secretary of State Colin Powell quickly moved to pour some cold water on that narrative.
  • Powell also lobbied against Bolton’s nomination to become UN ambassador, a position the Bush White House placed him in in August 2005 using a recess appointment. The nomination was dead by September 2006 — but Bolton had a good year and a half at the UN during which time he, among other things, scolded the UN High Commission for Human Rights after it criticized the Bush White House’s record on torture, saying it was “inappropriate and illegitimate for an international civil servant to second-guess the conduct that we’re engaged in in the war on terror.”
  • After that he settled into a roll at the American Enterprise Institute but popped up from time to time to encourage hawkishness — for example, using his platform at CPAC 2009 to criticize his former boss, President Bush, for not being aggressive enough toward North Korea and Iran.
  • Following Trump’s victory in 2016, Bolton was back on Fox claiming that Russia’s interference in the election may in fact have been a “false flag” operation by the Obama administration, orchestrated to delegitimize Trump. His frequent appearances — and outlandish claims — on Fox may have set him up for his new job; Trump, who also recently replaced National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn with CNBC personality Larry Kudlow, seems quite willing to recruit from among the ranks of cable’s talking heads.
  • To round out this roundup of Bolton stories in TPM’s archive, here’s a clip of Bolton enjoying himself using an “as seen on TV” fitness product, the Fit Board®, as the hosts of Fox & Friends cheer him on.

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