Insiders in the Trump administration have indicated that national security adviser John Bolton is President Donald Trump’s regular punch line in the White House, according to an Axios report.
Trump frequently pokes fun at Bolton for his hawkish beliefs while going throughout his day-to-day business, providing the President with a much-needed release valve. Trump allegedly told Bolton in the White House Situation Room last year: “Ok, John, let me guess, you want to nuke them all?”
Trump has also reportedly made a fool of Bolton in front of a foreign leader. During a diplomatic meeting in the Oval Office with Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar, Trump snapped to Bolton: “John, is Ireland one of those countries you want to invade?”
He has made similar comments publicly about Bolton, showing that Trump fully understands the interventionist bias of his unhinged underling who once served in the globalist administration of former President George W. Bush.
“I have two groups of people, I have doves and I have hawks. I have some hawks. John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him he’d take on the whole world at one time, okay?” Trump said during an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press. “But that doesn’t matter because I want both sides.”
Trump apparently has a strategic rationale for keeping Bolton around despite his warmongering ways. He believes that Bolton makes him look more reasonable by comparison, and this helps him get better leverage while negotiating deals with foreign governments.
“Trump thinks that Bolton is a key part of his negotiating strategy,” a source told Axios. “He thinks that Bolton’s bellicosity and eagerness to kill people is a bargaining chip when he’s sitting down with foreign leaders. Bolton can be the bad cop and Trump can be the good cop. Trump believes this to his core.”
While Trump may have Bolton around for this reason, he is relying on the non-interventionist Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to conduct talks with Iran, showing that the President hopes to depart from the neoconservative foreign policy orthodoxy of past administrations.
“Rand is a friend of mine, and Rand asked me if he could get involved. The answer is yes, and if the other senators ask me to get involved, I’d probably say yes depending on who they were,” Trump said, as reported by The Hill. “I have many people involved, and Iran is going to work out very nicely. “
Although tensions with Iran are spiking, it seems like Paul and anti-war commentators like Tucker Carlson of Fox News are winning out in influencing Trump’s plan of action over bomb-loving hot heads like Bolton.