AP NEWS

John Bolton replacing H.R. McMaster as Trump national security adviser

March 22, 2018

President Trump said Thursday he has hired former ambassador John Bolton to replace White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

“I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor,” Mr. Trump said.

He added, “I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on 4/9.”

The shakeup, rumored for weeks, came as Mr. Bolton appeared at the White House for a final job interview Thursday afternoon. The change in the key national-security post will take place before Mr. Trump is scheduled to hold a high-stakes meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sometime in May over denuclearization.

White House officials have been denying that a change was afoot, although they hoped that Mr. McMaster, an active three-star Army general, could return to the Pentagon sometime soon and earn a fourth star.

A White House official said the president and Mr. McMaster “mutually agreed” on his resignation, and that Mr. McMaster will retire from the Army after 34 years of “distinguished” service.

“The two have been discussing this for some time,” the official said. “The timeline was expedited as they both felt it was important to have the new team in place, instead of constant speculation. This was not related to any one moment or incident, rather it was the result of ongoing conversations between the two.”

Mr. Bolton served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2005-2006 in the administration of George W. Bush, and as undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security from 2001-2005.

The position does not require Senate confirmation.

Mr. McMaster said he requested retirement from the Army effective this summer, “after which I will leave public service.”

“Throughout my career it has been my greatest privilege to serve alongside extraordinary servicemembers and dedicated civilians,” Mr. McMaster said. “I am thankful to President Donald J. Trump for the opportunity to serve him and our nation as national security advisor. I am grateful for the friendship and support of the members of the National Security Council who worked together to provide the president with the best options to protect and advance our national interests.”

Mr. Bolton is viewed as more hawkish on Iran than Mr. McMaster, who has been urging the president to preserve the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Tehran.

The president said Mr. McMaster “has served his country with distinction for more than 30 years.”

“General McMaster’s leadership of the National Security Council staff has helped my administration accomplish great things to bolster America’s national security,” the president said. “He helped develop our America First National Security Strategy, revitalize our alliances in the Middle East, smash ISIS, bring North Korea to the table, and strengthen our nation’s prosperity.”

Mr. Bolton will be the president’s third national security adviser in 14 months. Michael Flynn resigned in February 2017 after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the extent of his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. prior to the inauguration.