President Donald Trump’s firing of his national security adviser, John Bolton, played out live on air as broadcast networks interrupted programming — and then Bolton himself texted reporters to insist that he resigned.
Bolton, who was a Fox News commentator before joining the Trump administration last year, was abruptly fired by Trump via Twitter.
“I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week.”
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But soon after, Bolton tweeted that, “I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, “Let’s talk about it tomorrow.”
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Almost immediately after Bolton was fired, speculation began that he would return to Fox News. A spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment, but Bolton gave an indication of his pugnacious persona in the way that he reacted to Trump’s announcement.
As media outlets scrambled to cover the story, Bolton began texting various reporters to insist that he resigned.
On Fox News, Brian Kilmeade had just reported Bolton’s tweet when he said, “John Bolton just texted me.”
“He said, ‘Let’s be clear. I resigned.’ I said, ‘Do you mind if I say that?…and he said yes.”
Among the other figures Bolton contacted was NBC News’ Peter Alexander. “I offered to resign last night. He never asked for it, directly or indirectly. I slept on it, and resigned this morning,” he told him.
The Bolton resignation also was covered by news break ins by the broadcast networks, in the latest tumult to come out of the White House. Bolton and Trump clashed over a number of issues, and they reportedly included Trump’s plan to invite members of the Taliban to Camp David as part of talks to end the war in Afghanistan. Trump said over the weekend that those plans were canceled following an attack in Kabul.
In recent weeks there had been reports that Bolton was on the outs, but his departure on Tuesday still was a surprise. He had been on a White House schedule released this morning in which he was to appear at a press briefing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Instead, just Pompeo and Mnuchin appeared before reporters.
“So last night the president asked for Ambassador John Bolton’s resignation, and it was received this morning,” Pompeo told reporters, adding that “the president is entitled to the staff that he wants.”
Pompeo said that there were “many times” that he and Bolton disagreed.
Asked if he was “blindsided” by Bolton’s departure, Pompeo said, with a smile, “I am never surprised — and I don’t mean that on just this issue.”
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