Incoming national security adviser John Bolton will arrive at the White House on April 9, and the prospect has alarmed critics who both typically frame the former U.N. ambassador as an aggressive war hawk — or words to that effect. There is a steady supply of hostile media as well.
“John Bolton has history of clashing with US intelligence community,” wrote PBS, while The Atlantic said his appointment was “the normalization of fringe conservatism.” The New York Times noted, “Yes, John Bolton really is that dangerous” and Politico declared, “It’s very difficult to overestimate the danger that John Bolton could put us in.”
Those are just a few of the many recent examples of unfriendly press. Mr. Bolton’s fans, however, have pushed back plenty in the last 48 hours.
“The Beltway establishment has reacted with horror to President Trump’s appointment of John Bolton as national security adviser. Bolton, they claim, is a dangerous warmonger unfit for the office. That’s wrong,” talk radio host Hugh Hewitt wrote in a New York Post op-ed on Saturday. “As the president’s top security aide, Bolton will be an honest broker and someone who can drive decisions through molasses-thick resistance. These qualities, plus his top-shelf intellect, make Bolton the best national security player to join Trump’s West Wing team so far.”
Those who support Mr. Bolton also hit the Sunday political talk shows.
“John is a very smart, very experienced, very tough guy. He has strong views,” Stephen Hadley — national security adviser to former President George W. Bush — told ABC News, calling Mr. Bolton “a very capable fellow,” and suggesting that there’s harmony between President Trump and his new adviser.
“The president knows him, seems to be comfortable with him and I think feels that John is more in line with his views,” Mr. Hadley said. “I don’t have real concerns. I think there is an issue in any situation whether a person is the right person for the right job. I think in the national security adviser is someone who is close to the president, needs to have the confidence of the president. And John clearly has that.”
One South Carolina Republican also had promising words.
“John Bolton sees North Korea for the threat they are,” Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News. “When President Trump meets Kim Jong-un, his national security adviser will be with him. And the North Koreans know, without a doubt, that John Bolton sees their nuclear program as a threat to the United States and will strongly advise the president to use military force if he has to — which means it’s less likely we will.”
Mr. Graham said he is “very pleased with John Bolton,” noting that his appointment as adviser “is going to make the world safer.”