President Trump named John R. Bolton, a hard-line former American ambassador to the United Nations, as his third national security adviser on Thursday, continuing a shake-up of his administration that creates one of the most hawkish national security teams of any White House in recent history.
Mr. Bolton will replace Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the battle-tested Army officer who was tapped as Mr. Trump’s second national security adviser last year to stabilize a turbulent foreign policy operation. But General McMaster never developed a comfortable relationship with the president.
The move, which was sudden but not unexpected, signals a more hawkish shift in American foreign policy at a time when Mr. Trump faces mounting challenges from Iran and North Korea.
The president replaced Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson last week with the C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, a former Army officer and Tea Party congressman who has spoken about regime change in Pyongyang and about ripping up the Iran nuclear deal.
Mr. Bolton, an outspoken hawk who served in the George W. Bush administration, has called for military action against Iran and North Korea. In an interview on Thursday on Fox News, soon after his appointment was announced in a presidential tweet, he declined to say whether Mr. Trump should go through with a planned meeting with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un.
General McMaster will retire from the military, ending a career that included senior commands in Iraq and Afghanistan. He had discussed his departure with Mr. Trump for several weeks, White House officials said, but decided to speed up his departure because questions about his status were casting a shadow over his exchanges with foreign officials.
Mr. Trump, the officials said, also wanted to fill out his national security team before his meeting with Mr. Kim, which is scheduled to occur by the end of May.
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SOURCE: NY Times, Mark Landler, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Peter Baker