Possible Change on the Trump Administrative Team
President Donald Trump may decide to remove current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from his administrative team. If so, the position may be given to John Bolton, who was previously considered for the role.
Below are the events that led to the possibility of a change in Secretary of State.
Who is John Bolton?
John Bolton is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a commentator for Fox News, a counsel to Washington law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and a senior advisor to Freedom Capital Investment Management LLC.
Bolton was born in 1948 in Baltimore, Maryland. He completed his Bachelor of Arts from Yale University and received his Juris Doctor in law from Yale Law University. After completing his law studies, Bolton went on to work for various law firms.
Bolton also has experienced working in politics under many different administrations, representing the Republican Party under former presidents Ronald Regan, George H.W Bush, and George W. Bush. A few of his positions include Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs at the Department of State, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice, and General Counsel for the United States Agency for International Development. He was also the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Past Possibilities of Joining the Trump Administration
There have been two prior indications that Bolton was going to be working under the Trump administration, though it didn’t happen once everything was said and done.
The first was when Bolton was initially believed to be taking on the position of Secretary of State. During an appearance on Fox and Friends, Bolton announced that he was in the running for the position. However, he wasn’t chosen in the end, with rumors circulating that Trump didn’t choose Bolton because he didn’t like his mustache. The position was eventually was given to the former CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), Rex Tillerson. (Source: “Donald Trump rejected Secretary of State candidate John Bolton over his moustache, adviser reveals,” The Independent, December 22, 2016.)
Bolton later interviewed for the position of National Security Advisor, which was eventually given to Michael Flynn. Flynn held the job for a total of 24 days, the shortest tenure in the position’s history, before resigning due to links to the Turkey and Russian government and his failure to complete the appropriate paperwork. (Source: “Trump to interview Bolton, 3 others for national security adviser post,” The Washington Times, February 18, 2017.)
The position was later given to current holder H.R. McMaster. There was discussion of Bolton working under him as a deputy, but it was determined that he wouldn’t be a good fit. (Source: “Washington Loves General McMaster, But Trump Doesn’t,” Bloomberg, May 8, 2017.)
New Possibilities of Joining the Trump Administration
President Trump is said to support many individuals and speak highly of those agree with him and vice versa. One such person that has disagreed with Trump at times is Rex Tillerson, the current Secretary of State. There was even one instance where Tillerson called President Trump a “moron.” (Source: “Tensions escalate after Tillerson calls Trump ‘moron,’” CNN, October 5, 2017.)
In addition, Tillerson doesn’t like the way senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner is managing peace talks in the Middle East. Tillerson believes that that strategy that Kushner is using will be a very dangerous one over the long term and would rather do things his way, with the goal of having a good working relationship with Israel. Tillerson is also a supporter of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Trump is not fond of. (Source: “Report: Jared Kushner, Rex Tillerson Feud Deepens over Middle East Policy,” Breitbart, December 4, 2017.)
Even though Tillerson has a vast amount of experience working with governments around the world from his time at Exxon Mobil, he has still created tension within the administration. Kushner doesn’t have the same level of experience working with governments around the world, but he has the advantage of being President Trump’s son-in-law, and it should come as no surprise that Trump would side with family first.
We have seen President Trump handing out positions to individuals that agree with him–and removing those that do not. The disagreements with Tillerson could be John Bolton’s in for acquiring the position of Secretary of State, thanks in part to his experience and prior consideration.
There is a meeting taking place on December 7 between President Trump and Bolton, perhaps to ensure that they’re on the same page. Trump may also wish to ensure that Bolton is willing to take on the role before giving Tillerson the boot so that the position doesn’t goo empty for too long, if at all.
From the outside looking in, it seems that Bolton would accept the position. Firstly, as noted, he is a Republican supporter and has a ton of experience working with previous presidents. Bolton is also a supporter of President Trump, as evidenced by the tweet below:
President @realDonaldTrump’s speech was right on target. The decision to move the US embassy in Israel to #Jerusalem needed to be made and I congratulate the president for standing up and actually doing it.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) December 6, 2017
Not only is Bolton praising the President in the tweet, but also supporting his decisions in the Middle East. If Bolton were to take on the role of Secretary of State, it seems that he would work well alongside Kushner. Bolton even made an appearance on Fox News, stating his support for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. (“Source: “Amb. Bolton: Trump’s Jerusalem speech was ‘right on target,’” Fox News, December 6, 2017.)
Here is What Could Happen
Talks between President Trump and Bolton about the position could be on the horizon. Perhaps they will discuss their views on the Middle East, as well as the rest of the world. There is likely no issues between the two, and little reason to disagree.
Maybe President Trump will offer the position to Bolton unofficially, which Bolton would likely accept, followed by the president stripping Rex Tillerson of the role. And then we get the press conference announcing the administrative change.
Of course, this is just one way things could turn out. We’ll have to wait and see what the reality is.