Donald Trump says fired adviser John Bolton ‘not smart’

US President Donald Trump has savaged his former national security adviser John Bolton one day after dumping him via Twitter blasting his ex-aide for “offending” Kim Jong-un, while also partly blaming him for launching the Iraq War.

Mr Trump sacked Mr Bolton on Monday, while Mr Bolton inists he resigned the night before.

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Mr Trump was vicious in his criticism of Mr Bolton while bizarrely insisting they had a warm working relationship.

“John is somebody that I actually get along with very well. He made some very big mistakes,” Mr Trump said.

Indeed, the US President said Mr Bolton had offended North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un by demanding that he follow a “Libyan model” and hand over all his nuclear weapons.

“It set us back, and frankly, he wanted to do things not necessarily tougher than me.”

He also pointed the finger at Mr Bolton over America’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

“You know, John’s known as a tough guy. He’s so tough, he got us into Iraq. That’s tough,” Mr Trump said.

“You know, John wasn’t in line with what we were doing, and actually, in some cases, he thought it was too tough what we were doing — ‘Mr. Tough Guy’. You know, ‘You have to go into Iraq.’

“Going into Iraq was something that he felt very strongly about.”

It comes as Mr Trump said he is considering “five very qualified people” to replace Mr Bolton.

“There are five people that I consider very highly qualified,” he said, without naming them.


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“We’ll be announcing somebody next week, but we have some very highly qualified people.”

He also said that the former adviser was out of line on Venezuela, which has been another of the administration’s top foreign policy challenges.

While the two were mostly in synch on the need to push Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from power, Mr Trump had become increasingly impatient at the failure of a US-led campaign of sanctions and diplomacy to remove the socialist leader.

Mr Trump declined to comment on whether he would meet with Mr Maduro. Mr Trump was asked whether he would consider easing sanctions on Iran to secure a meeting with its leader President Hassan Rouhani at this month’s UN General Assembly and replied: “We’ll see what happens.”

Separately, Rouhani said Tehran would not negotiate with Washington while sanctions on his country are still being enforced by the US.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have said the president is open to meeting with Rouhani.

Asked if he is looking at such a meeting, Mr Trump told reporters that he is not looking at anything.

North Korea has denounced Mr Bolton as a “war maniac” and “human scum”.

Mr Bolton has proposed using military force to overthrow the ruling Kim family and US officials have said he was responsible for the collapse of Mr Trump and Kim’s second summit in Vietnam in February.

Efforts to engage with North Korea nearly fell apart after Mr Trump followed Mr Bolton’s advice in Hanoi and handed Kim a piece of paper that bluntly called for the transfer of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and bomb fuel to the US.

The document effectively reprised Mr Bolton’s long-held “Libya model” of unilateral denuclearisation that North Korea has repeatedly rejected and that analysts said would have been seen by Kim as insulting and provocative.

Mr Trump announced he had fired Mr Bolton a day after North Korea signalled a new willingness to resume stalled denuclearisation talks but then proceeded with the latest in a spate of missile launches.

Analysts say Mr Bolton’s removal could help US efforts to revive the talks but will not make Washington’s aim of persuading Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons any easier.

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