POLITICAL ARENA

Engel has harsh words over Bolton departure

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It was hard for anyone at the White House to catch their breath last week, as not only did the Trump administration’s revolving door continue to spin quite quickly, but the president faced controversy over how he handled Hurricane Dorian.

But it was the departure of John Bolton as Trump’s national security advisor that perked the ears of U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel.

The Democratic chair of the powerful House Committee on Foreign Affairs may have little he can agree with on Bolton. But whether he resigned or was asked to resign just shows how much Trump’s foreign policy is in disarray, the congressman said.

“With negotiations on Afghanistan upended, vital negotiations with China stalled, North Korea ramping up dangerous tests, Great Britain on the brink of crashing out of the (European Union), and Iran and Russia up to no good on any number of issues, American leadership is desperately needed around the world,” Engel said, in a statement.

“Instead, our national security decision-making process is in chaos, and America is less safe.”

Bolton was never a popular choice for national security advisor among Democrats like Engel, especially with his reported hawkish nature when it comes to Iran. But the former United Nations ambassador is the third man to hold the office since Trump was inaugurated in 2017, following in the footsteps of Michael Flynn and H.R. McMaster.

By comparison, Barack Obama had three national security advisors in his eight years while George W. Bush had just two, having to replace Condoleezza Rice after she was elevated to Secretary of State.

Bolton resigned Sept. 10, according to Trump.

Deputy national security advisor Charles Kupperman is filling in for now, but Engel wants Trump to make an informed decision on a permanent replacment.

“The president needs to immediately appoint a qualified replacement who respects human rights and democracy, supports diplomacy and development, and recognizes that alliances and engagement are pillars of American foreign policy,” Engel said.

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