- The Duran Quick Take: Episode 164.
The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss President Trump’s relationship with his national security adviser John Bolton which appears to be on shaky ground following an embarrassing, US backed, failed coup against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro…instigated by Bolton’s man in Caracas, opposition puppet Juan Guaidó.
The Washington Post broke the story of Trump’s dissatisfaction with Bolton on Wednesday, citing current and former administration officials.
Bolton’s uber-hawkish worldview, and lust for US war and military intervention is at odds with Trump’s core campaign pledge to keep the United States out of costly foreign entanglements. Before becoming US President Trump, consistently called for an end to the wars in Afghanistan and Syria.
President Trump is questioning his administration’s aggressive strategy in Venezuela following the failure of a U.S.-backed effort to oust President Nicolás Maduro, complaining he was misled about how easy it would be to replace the socialist strongman with a young opposition figure, according to administration officials and White House advisers.
The president’s dissatisfaction has crystallized around national security adviser John Bolton and what Trump has groused is an interventionist stance at odds with his view that the United States should stay out of foreign quagmires.
Trump has said in recent days that Bolton wants to get him “into a war” — a comment that he has made in jest in the past but that now betrays his more serious concerns, one senior administration official said.
The administration’s policy is officially unchanged in the wake of a fizzled power play last week by U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó. But U.S. officials have since been more cautious in their predictions of Maduro’s swift exit, while reassessing what one official described as the likelihood of a diplomatic “long haul.”
U.S. officials point to the president’s sustained commitment to the Venezuela issue, from the first weeks of his presidency as evidence that he holds a realistic view of the challenges there and does not think there is a quick fix.
But Trump has nonetheless complained over the past week that Bolton and others underestimated Maduro, according to three senior administration officials who like others interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.
After the WaPo story broke Trump said that he is satisfied with the advice he’s been getting from Bolton on foreign policy, going against reports that he’s losing faith in his national security adviser.
Trump said Thursday during an Oval Office press conference…
“He has strong views on things but that’s okay. I actually temper John, which is pretty amazing.”
“I’m the one that tempers him. That’s okay. I have different sides. I have John Bolton and other people that are a little more dovish than him. I like John.”