The comings and goings of Trump administration officials are continuing to keep an exercise wheel still turning after two-and-a-half years.
The most heavily publicized may be the Monday departure of John Bolton, who either resigned or was fired by the president from the post of national security adviser.
That was the last name on a Wikipedia list of national security advisers that began on March 23, 1953, the career start of Robert Cutler, ending on April 2, 1955, under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Here are the numbers of national security adviser appointments and departures under 12 presidential administrations:
Eisenhower, five; John F. Kennedy, one; Lyndon B. Johnson, two; Richard Nixon, one; Gerald Ford, two; Jimmy Carter, three; Ronald Reagan, six; George H.W. Bush, one; Bill Clinton, two; George W. Bush, two; Barack Obama, five; and Trump’s appointees, H. R McMaster, John Bolton, Charles Kupperman, the “acting” national security adviser as of Sept. 10.
The lengthy coming-and-going list adds up to 139 people among Donald J. Trump’s White House staffers, including Bolton.
Trump commented on Bolton’s perceived shortcomings:
“He made some very big mistakes. When he talked about the ‘Libyan model’ for Kim Jong Un, that was not a good statement to make. You just take a look at what happened with Gaddafi. That was not a good statement to make. And it set us back.” … “And he’s using that to make a deal with North Korea? And I don’t blame Kim Jong Un for what he said after that. And he wanted nothing to do with John Bolton.”
Aaron Blake wrote in an opinion piece in the Washington Post, “Trump sure makes it sound like one of the biggest strikes against Bolton was … that a brutal foreign dictator didn’t like him? It also bears noting the Trump at one point was talking about ‘totally destroying’ North Korea and ‘fire and fury.’ It’s unlikely Kim liked those things, either.
“And, frankly,” Trump said, “he wanted to do things not necessarily tougher than me. You know, John’s known as a tough guy. He’s so tough he got us into Iraq. That’s tough.”
Blake’s comment, “This was the harshest line from Trump. But again, this was something he well knew — or at least should have known — when he picked Bolton in the first place.”
Trump said, “But he’s somebody that I actually had a very good relationship with. But he wasn’t getting along with people in the administration that I consider very important.”
Blake’s comment, “Again, it’s weird that Trump seems to be slipping in these olive branches, even as he points to high-profile alleged failures on Bolton’s part.”
It must be emphasized that there are real worries that America might go to war again, even without a fully approved national security adviser, but with an “acting” one. America’s involvement in the Afghanistan war is now in its 18th year and we don’t need another long-term, loss-of-American-lives involvement.
Trump said he would name another national security adviser in a week.