Donald Trump claimed he fired John Bolton in a tweet on Tuesday as polls showed his approval rating falling 38 per cent, down six points on his July career-best according to a new ABC News/Washington Post, as concerns over the fate of the American economy linger.
The president's abrupt announcement created a flurry of dramatic TV news, with Mr Bolton apparently texting Fox News hosts a simple message: "Let's be clear," he reportedly texted the network's Brian Kilmeade. "I resigned."
The president meanwhile held his latest “Keep America Great” rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on Monday night, attacking the “America-hating left”, scaremongering about the release of “horrible, hardened criminals” in sanctuary cities and saying he rolled back energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs because: “I look better under incandescent light”. On another wild evening before a crowd of his most feverish supporters, Mr Trump also made a false claim about voter fraud in California and took sole credit for the US being awarded the 2026 FIFA World Cup and joked about serving a third term in order to be in office when the tournament gets underway.
During his year and a half at the White House, Mr Bolton had particular success in shaping the administration’s policies toward the United Nations and other international organizations, such as the International Criminal Court, as well as advocating for hardline measures on Venezuela and Cuba.
Mr Bolton had launched a broadside campaign against the International Criminal Court that resulted in the US revoking the visa of the court’s chief prosecutor after she sought permission to open an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by American troops and others in Afghanistan.
With the national security adviser on his team, Mr Trump announced the US was withdrawing from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, a position advocated by Mr Bolton.
The deal had been negotiated by the Obama administration to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing sanctions, and some in the administration favoured staying in the agreement.
His tenure in the White House was not without its many controversies, of course.
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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey refused to meet with Mr Bolton during his visit to Turkey to discuss US plans to withdraw troops from Syria in January.
The Turkish president was angered after Mr Bolton called for Turkish security assurances for the US-backed Kurdish forces as a condition for the withdrawal.
The president himself also appeared to undercut Mr Bolton’s public condemnation of missile tests by North Korea.
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“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me,” Mr Trump tweeted. “Some” of his “people” appeared to include Mr Bolton, who had told reporters just hours earlier that North Korean missile tests violated UN Security Council resolutions.
Additional reporting by AP. Please allow a moment for our liveblog to load