If there is one position that President-elect Donald Trump will be under strict scrutiny for as he staffs his administration, it is that of Secretary of State.
Throughout the election, Donald Trump repeatedly and relentlessly bashed Hillary Clinton, who served as Secretary of State during the Obama Administration from January 21, 2009 – February 1, 2013, for her performance as the country’s top diplomat. Not only did he cruelly blame her directly for the lives of the four U.S. officials lost in the 2012 Benghazi attack, he claimed she was personally responsible for the debacle in Syria as well as the creation of ISIS. Trump also criticized Clinton heavily for her part in the creation and signing of the Iran nuclear deal.
But more than any other judgment Trump placed on Clinton, was her voting to invade Iraq in 2003, although she did so as a Democratic senator during George W. Bush’s presidency. Now Trump is considering appointing John Bolton, the invasion’s most ardent supporter, as Secretary of State.
Without knowing Bolton’s history, it might not seem like such an odd choice. Bolton, a lawyer and senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, was appointed the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2005 during the Bush administration, but only lasted two years thanks to a Democrat fight to stop a long-term appointment. Bolton has actually served in numerous Republican administrations, dating back to Reagan, but he still seems like a bizarre choice by Trump. Given that Trump hates it when people disagree with him.
As mentioned, Bolton supported the war in Iraq. In fact, Bolton helped spread the false information about Saddam Hussein’s supposed weapons of mass destruction program that swayed congress to vote for the invasion. Even after it became clear to the world that the whole thing was a hoax, Bolton still said he thought the war was a good idea.
One of the main roles of the Secretary of State is to strengthen diplomatic ties and negotiate international deals. Yet, Bolton is one of the “most disliked foreign policy operators on the world stage” and a strong supporter of war in general.
As for Russia and Trump’s view of it, it would be good for America to be friendly with the country and he may not find the support he would like from Bolton. In 2014, Bolton told Fox News, “I think we’ve got to begin to treat Russia like the adversary that Putin is currently demonstrating it to be.”
So how would Bolton have handled the Iran deal? In March 2015 Bolton wrote a New York Times piece entitled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” The title speaks for itself.
Although it may sound like a Trump Tweet, this suggestion goes against what many Trump supporters believed the President-elect stood for – change, domestically and in regards to foreign policy. They voted for less military involvement abroad, yet Trump is considering an appointee with an overtly aggressive military mindset.
Featured image via Ethan Miller/ Getty Images