Former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton’s comments on using a “Libyan model” with North Korea were among the reasons for his dismissal this week, U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Trump also said that Bolton wasn’t getting along with others in the administration and wasn’t “in line with what we were doing.”
“John is somebody that I actually get along with very well. 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,” Trump said.
“You just take a look at what happened with Gaddafi. That was not a good statement to make. And it set us back.”
In April 2018, the then-national security advisor indicated that Washington was looking at a Libya style verification model for North Korea, with Bolton noting that American and British observers had been allowed into Libya’s nuclear sites.
But Trump returned to Bolton’s comments twice in the meeting with journalists on Wednesday, adding that the remarks were “not smart.”
“We were set back very badly when John Bolton talked about the Libyan model. And he made a mistake and as soon as he mentioned that – the Libyan model – what a disaster …. And he’s using that to make a deal with North Korea?” Trump told reporters.
“And I don’t blame Kim Jong Un for what he said after that. And he wanted nothing to do with John Bolton.”
The U.S. President added that he was considering five “highly qualified” people to take over from Bolton, while on Tuesday indicated that he would announce a new national security advisor next week.
Bolton resigned from his post on Tuesday, after meeting with the U.S. President the previous night. He had been in the position since March 18 when he took over from Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.
“John came to see me the night before … and he sat right in that chair and I told him John, there are too many people, you’re not getting along with people,” Trump said of the resignation on Wednesday.
“And a lot of us, including me, disagree with some of your tactics and some of your ideas. And I wish you well, but I’d like you to submit your resignation and he did that.”
Bolton, who is often seen as hawkish within Washington and is typically thought of as a taking a hard line of foreign policy issues like North Korea and Iran is also disliked by Pyongyang.
North Korea has previously publicly criticized Bolton via state-media or in the form of direct remarks from North Korean officials.
In April this year, North Korean first vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui condemned Bolton over comments regarding the DPRK’s willingness to denuclearize.
According to the KCNA Watch data tool, North Korea has been criticizing John Bolton as far back as 2001, when the country’s state media railed against Bolton’s appointment as deputy secretary of state under the Bush administration.
“In his testimony he made arrogant remarks that he would adopt a more realistic and tough policy toward the nuclear weapon and ballistic missile issue of North Korea, thus slandering the political system of the DPRK and putting pressure upon it,” North Korea said at the time.
Featured image: State Department