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Issued: 2018-03-22

By David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor For

Published: 18:37 EDT, 22 March 2018 | Updated: 18:55 EDT, 22 March 2018


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President Donald Trump will replace National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster with John Bolton on April 9, the White House announced late Thursday.

Bolton, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is a hawkish conservative with a pugnacious streak – and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel.

He is also a fierce opponent of the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal.

At one time a vacillating potential presidential candidate, Bolton will be the third person to be Trump's chief national security aide in his 14-month presidency.

'I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor,' the president tweeted.

Hiring and firing: John Bolton, the former ambassador the United Nations and a security hawk will come into the White House to replace General H.R. McMaster next month, ending months of speculation

unusual tribute: Trump, who was late to a Greek Independence Day Celebration reception in the East Room because of the shake-up, thanked McMaster for his service

'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.'

Trump has clashed with McMaster repeatedly in recent months, telling confidants that he considers the general a long-winded bore.

His departure comes barely a week after the president dramatically ousted former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a tweet.

Trump's national security staff appeared in disarray this week after he placed a congratulatory phone call to Russian President Vladimir Putin – who had won a fourth term in a lopsided election that critics called a corrupt 'sham.'

National security aides, it emerged in an embarrassing leak, had cautioned him in written briefing documents: "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" – in all capital letters – but he did it anyway, following the example of Barack Obama in 2012.

Bolton was in the West Wing Thursday afternoon – along with his signature brush-like moustache – and met with Trump.

By dinnertime the White House Press Office was a hive of activity, with Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, her deputy Raj Shah and outgoing communications director Hope Hicks huddling behind closed doors and taking brief interruptions only for trips down the hall to the Oval Office.

Because of the backstage frenzy, Trump was a half-hour late to a planned speech at an East Room event commemorating Greek Independence Day.

The president had told top aides that he wanted to put a new National Security Advisor in place before his planned meeting with North Korean despot Kim Jong-Un, a sit-down that is expected no sooner than late May.


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