Former national security adviser John Bolton said President Donald Trump’s reshuffle of the Pentagon on Wednesday was “irresponsible and dangerous” as he railed against his former boss’s move to “decapitate” parts of the national security network.
In an article for the Washington Post, Bolton described the dismissal of former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper as “completely unjustified” and argued that Trump’s decision to shake up his Pentagon team, with only weeks left until his withdrawal from the White House, was motivated by “personal outrage.
The combative former national security adviser was himself dismissed from the Trump administration last September because of disputes with the commander-in-chief.
In the daily Op-ed Bolton wrote: “Trump is doing something that could well be a systematic purge of his own government, beginning with the totally unjustified dismissal of Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper this week and continuing through high- and mid-level civilian offices in the ministry”.
After expressing fears that the heads of the secret services could be next in line for firing, the former National Security Advisor added: “This is happening with only ten weeks left in the administration. All transitions bring uncertainty, but it is irresponsible and dangerous to behead significant parts of the national security apparatus during such a period for no other reason than personal anger”.
He also rebuked Republican legislators for “coddling” trumps, refusing to allow President-elect Joe Biden to be elected.
“For the good of America, the 2020 election must be swiftly concluded that all logic tells us it is coming,” Bolton said. “National security requires that the transition be effectively set in motion. These are Republican values”.
Washington Newsday has asked the White House for a comment.
Esper was fired by Trump on Monday because of reports of a strained relationship between the two parties. The president announced his removal from office in a tweet thanking him for his service in the Pentagon.
Christopher Miller, director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, was introduced as Esper’s temporary replacement. “Chris is gonna do a BIG job!” Trump tweeted.
According to a statement released by the Pentagon on Tuesday, three other defense officials followed Esper out the door after submitting letters of resignation – including Jen Stewart, chief of staff to the secretary of defense.
“I want to thank Dr. [James] Anderson, Admiral [Joseph] Kernan and Jen Stewart for their service to the nation and the Department,” Miller said. “Each of them has made a major contribution to national defense and the future of the Department of Defense in their careers. We wish them the best in their future endeavors.