US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was considering five very qualified people to replace John Bolton as his national security adviser.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said Bolton had made some mistakes, including offending North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un by demanding that he follow a “Libyan model” and hand over all his nuclear weapons.
Trump said there were a lot of people interested in Bolton’s position and five he considered well qualified for the job. He did not name them.
He said he got along well with Bolton and hoped they parted on good terms, but added 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 sync on the need to push Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from power, Trump had become increasingly impatient at the failure of a US-led campaign of sanctions and diplomacy to remove the socialist leader.
Trump declined to comment on whether he would meet with Maduro.
He said Bolton, with his abrasive, hardline approach, “wasn’t getting along with people in the administration that I consider very important.”
“John wasn’t in line with what we were doing,” he added.
Trump said he got along with Bolton and hoped they parted on good terms, but added: “Maybe we have and maybe we haven’t. I have to run the country the way we’re running the country.”
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.”
Among the names being floated as possible Bolton successors are Stephen Biegun, special US envoy on North Korea; Richard Grenell, US ambassador to Germany; US hostage negotiator Robert O’Brien; and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan.