President Donald Trump and his staff are discussing whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo should replace John Bolton, the National Security Adviser who was ousted from the White House on Tuesday, according to a CNN report.
Pompeo’s potential dual-hat in the administration would mean that the nation’s chief foreign diplomat would also assume the role the the president’s top national security liaison, a feat that has not been undertaken since National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger took on the additional role during former President Richard Nixon’s administration in 1973.
Two years later, President Gerald Ford removed Kissinger from the national security adviser role but kept him on as secretary of state.
Pompeo has submitted his list of potential candidates to replace Bolton, CNN reported, citing a source with knowledge of the discussions. Trump on Wednesday said he was considering a list of “five … highly qualified, good people” for the vacant position.
Pompeo on Tuesday admitted he and Bolton did not always see eye to eye on policy matters. During a press conference with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Pompeo said Trump was “entitled to the staff that he wants at any moment.”
Asked on his working relationship with Bolton, Pompeo said there were “many times Ambassador Bolton and I disagreed; that’s to be sure.”
One instance in which Pompeo and Bolton differed was when Trump considered hosting peace talks with the Taliban. Bolton, who is considered to be a hawk in the foreign policy community, reportedly disagreed with with the notion; meanwhile Pompeo “didn’t oppose” the idea for the discussions, people with knowledge of the matter said to The Wall Street Journal.
At Tuesday’s press conference, a reporter asked whether Pompeo was “blindsided” by Bolton’s ouster.
Pompeo smiled and responded, “Yeah, I’m never surprised.”