Congress' military vets torn on Bolton appointment

Matt Saintsing
March 26, 2018 - 11:42 am

Photo by Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz/DoD

Military veterans currently serving in Congress showed mixed reactions to President Donald Trump’s decision to make former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, his national security advisor, ousting Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.

Falling along partisan lines, Republicans largely praised Bolton’s appointment as a signal of American resolve sent to our allies and adversaries. Democrats, on the other hand, called his appointment a danger to national security.

 “Another step backwards for an administration already going full throttle in reserve,” Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), a former Marine officer and Iraq War veteran tweeted Thursday night. “If you’re worried about our national security today, you should be more concerned about it tomorrow.

His colleague and ideological counterpart in the Senate, Tom Cotton (R-Ar.) lauded both McMaster and Bolton, who is “an excellent choice to take the baton from General McMaster.”

Cotton also revered McMaster as “a warrior and a scholar, one of the best generals of his generation.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), an Air Force veteran, said Saturday on Fox News, “North Koreans know without a doubt that John Bolton sees their nuclear program as a threat to the United States,” adding “John Bolton has been the biggest critic of the Iran deal.”

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, West Point graduate Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), criticized Bolton as not having “the temperament or judgement to be an effective national security advisor, adding the duo is a ”combustible combination.”  

Bolton has called, in recent years, for pre-emptive strikes against Iran and North Korea. On Friday, he suggested that his views may be more moderate than those he held outside of the administration.

On Fox News, Bolton said his past comments are behind him. What matters “is what the president says,” he added.

"They're all out there in the public record,” Bolton said of his views. “I have never been shy about what my views are. Frankly, what I have said in private now is behind me. The important thing is what the president says and the advice I give him."