John Bolton's abrupt firing shows how chaotic Trump's White House is

John Bolton's abrupt firing shows how chaotic Trump's White House is

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and then on to North Carolina. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Associated Press

President Donald Trump.

  • The abrupt ouster of national security adviser John Bolton on Tuesday demonstrates just how dysfunctional President Donald Trump's White House is.
  • Trump had been frustrated with Bolton for some time, but his decision to fire Bolton - by tweet - threw Washington into a frenzy.
  • It may even have come as a shock to people in the White House, because an hour before Trump sent the tweet, the White House sent a notice out saying Bolton would be giving a briefing in the afternoon with other officials.
  • Bolton and the White House have been feuding over the circumstances of his departure since this morning.
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Washington flew into a frenzy Tuesday when President Donald Trump abruptly announced on Twitter that he'd dismissed John Bolton, the national security adviser, because he "disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions."

Bolton is the third national security adviser to be shown the door in the Trump administration, and although there have been reports of infighting between him and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Bolton's firing still came out of left field for the media and the public.


It may even have come as a shock to many within the White House.

At 10:55 a.m. ET, the White House sent out a notice saying Bolton, Pompeo, and Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin would give a briefing in the afternoon. A little over an hour later, Trump tweeted that he asked Bolton to resign on Monday night.

Minutes later, Bolton tweeted: "I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, 'Let's talk about it tomorrow.'"


Bolton told NBC's Peter Alexander something similar: "I offered to resign last night. He never asked for it, directly or indirectly. I slept on it, and resigned this morning."

But the White House kept insisting he was fired.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told Insider, "The President asked that Bolton's resignation be given to him this morning. It was."


Read more: The Internet is blowing up with bewildered reactions and memes about Trump's abrupt firing of National Security Adviser John Bolton

Similarly, a White House official told Washington Post reporter Robert Costa that "Bolton was indeed fired" and his "resignation was requested."

This isn't the first time a White House official's departure has been shrouded in confusion. In July 2017, Trump fired then-chief of staff Reince Priebus by tweet and replaced him with John Kelly, the former secretary of homeland security.


In April, Trump abruptly announced then-Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen would be "leaving her position." Nielsen shortly after issued a resignation letter that did not offer a specific reason for her departure, but numerous reports suggested she was forced out.