Donald Trump’s cabinet reshuffles have fueled concerns, not least after the latest appointment of hawkish John Bolton as national security adviser, just days after installing a former CIA chief as the new secretary of state.
On Thursday afternoon Donald Trump decided to sack Gen. HR McMaster from his national security adviser post, replacing him with John Bolton. The former US envoy to the United Nations will assume office on April 9 – just days after Mike Pompeo is set to replace Rex Tillerson as the new secretary of state.
The newly formed doublet has caused shockwaves among the Democrats, who have alleged that Trump seems to be preparing for war. Democratic Senator from Massachusetts Ed Markey warned that Trump is creating a “war cabinet,” warning of “grave danger” following Bolton’s appointment.
“With the appointments of Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, @realDonaldTrump is successfully lining up his war cabinet. Bolton played a key role in politicizing the intel that misled us into the Iraq War. We cannot let this extreme war hawk blunder us into another terrible conflict,” he tweeted.
“John Bolton supports proactively bombing Iran & striking North Korea with nuclear weapons first without provocation. Appointing him to be Nat Sec Advisor is a grave danger to the American people & a clear message from @realDonaldTrump that he is gearing up for military conflict,” Senator Markey added.
The choice of Bolton as the national security adviser has also been questioned by Senator Jeff Merkley from Oregon, who has pointed out many flaws with the new appointee’s policies.
“John Bolton: Wanted war w Cuba, arguing wrongly that Cuba had WMD
Wanted war w Iraq, arguing – wrong again – that Iraq had WMD
Believes – wrongly – that Islamic law is taking over America
If you’re always wrong on security, you’re the wrong person to be National Security Advisor,” Merkley tweeted.
Rep. Barbara Jean Lee of California’s 13th congressional district was also disappointed by Trump’s choice, claiming: “This is dangerous news for the country and the world. John Bolton was easily one of the most extreme, pro-war members of the Bush Administration. Imagine what havoc he could wreak whispering in Donald Trump’s ear…I hear the drumbeats of war.”
Fears expressed by some Capitol Hill members and the public seem justified. The notoriously hawkish former United Nations ambassador was a chief architect of the George W. Bush administration’s justification for the war in Iraq in 2003, that was based on false accusations that Baghdad possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Trump’s choice of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Mike Pompeo as the new secretary of state also made many in Washington uneasy. Unlike his predecessor, Rex Tillerson, Pompeo seems better aligned with Trump’s confrontational foreign policy, namely on the Iran nuclear deal, on North Korea, and on the shift of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Besides politicians, the American public also expressed concern about the feasibility of a looming armed conflict.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders called Bolton “absolutely the wrong person to be national security advisor now,” recalling how he deceived the public about the Iraq war.
“John Bolton was part of the effort to mislead the US into the disastrous Iraq war and has supported military action against North Korea and Iran. He was too extreme to be confirmed as UN ambassador in 2005 and is absolutely the wrong person to be national security advisor now,” Sanders tweeted.
“John Bolton is a dangerous radical. President Trump’s decision to make Bolton his National Security Advisor is deeply disturbing,” Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (PA-13) said in a written statement. “John Bolton has spent his entire career pushing fringe conspiracy theories, espousing radical ideas about multilateralism, and undermining key alliances across the world.”