Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin addressed assembled press in the White House briefing room and immediately faced questions about the bombshell news story that had dropped just over an hour earlier, that being the sudden ouster of now-former National Security Advisor John Bolton from the Trump Administration.
President Donald Trump announced earlier in the day that he had fired Bolton, who nearly immediately pushed back on that claim saying instead that he had resigned from the role, which he revealed via texts to reporters and on-air hosts, such as Fox News Brian Kilmeade, who reported Bolton’s claim live on air.
This palace intrigue was understandably top of mind at the press conference that was initially planned to include Bolton until news of his firing/resignation was revealed.
ABC News’ Terry Moran asked Pompeo “did John Bolton get fired or did he quit? And did he leave the White House because he disagreed with you in particular over the talks with the telegram?”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the sitting Sec of State Pompeo sided with the President, saying “last night the president asked for Ambassador Bolton’s resignation, as I understand it it was received this morning.”
Moran then followed up by asking “was it because of his disagreement?”
Pompeo hedged in his response, saying that he “will leave it to the president to talk about the reasons he made the decision. But I would say this — the president is entitled to the staff he wants at any moment. This is a staff person who works directly for the president of the United States and he should have people he trusts and values and his efforts and judgments benefit him and delivering American foreign policy. ”
Pompeo was later pressed about his “working relationship with John Bolton” and if his departure makes it easier for the Secretary of State to do his job and for the administration to accomplish the president’s foreign policy agenda?”
Pompeo demurred in reply, saying “I don’t talk about the inner workings of how this all goes. We all give our candidates — many times he and I disagree, that’s to be sure. That is true for lots of people with whom I interact. My mission is always to make sure I run the primitive state to deliver America’s diplomacy preacher to work with the team, whether it’s the treasury or the president’s staff, to make sure we get good outcomes.”
Watch above via Fox News.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]