the Trump administration in September 2019; Trump says he was fired, Bolton says he resigned
. On Thursday, Trump tweeted
, “President Bush fired him also. Bolton is incompetent!”
Bush told Bolton
in front of reporters: “We’re going to miss you in this administration. You’ve been a stalwart defender of freedom and peace. You’ve been strong in your advocacy for human rights and human dignity. You’ve done everything that can be expected for an ambassador.”
Bolton had previously served in other senior roles in government, including as Bush’s Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs between 2001 and 2005.
He was a controversial choice for UN ambassador over his role in the decision to go to war in Iraq, his generally hawkish views, his history of anti-UN statements, accusations
that he had misled the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and accusations
that he had bullied subordinates, including those whose intelligence assessments he didn’t endorse.
Unable to get Bolton confirmed by the Senate, since Democrats
and some Republicans
were opposed, Bush used a recess appointment
to install him in the post in 2005. The recess appointment could only last until the end of the next session of Congress; Bolton announced his pending departure in December 2006, when it was clear that continued Senate opposition would not allow him to be confirmed by the Congress starting in 2007.
Though Bush himself used
the word “resignation” at the time, White House officials argued that Bolton had not actually resigned
, since he made clear he would be staying as long as he was allowed.
Whatever you want to call what happened, it certainly was not a firing.