Trump's replacement for H.R. McMaster really wants to bomb North Korea


  • President Donald Trump is rumored to be on the verge of replacing his National Security Adviser.
  • A likely replacement is John Bolton, a man who argues constantly for bombing North Korea, John Bolton
  • Bolton frequently appears on Fox News and writes that he thinks North Korea is an imminent threat to the US, and must be dealt with now.
  • He completely dismissed North Korea's recent push for talks, and maintains that war is still a good option.

Rumors swirled around the White House on Thursday as The Washington Post reported that H.R. McMaster, Donald Trump's National Security Adviser, was about to be dismissed.

His mooted replacement is John Bolton, a man who seems to really want to bomb North Korea.

The White House quashed those rumors on Thursday night, but Trump's White House has often denied rumors of staff shakeups, only to go through with them anyway.

This was the case with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's ouster on Monday.

Notable people who have been fired or resigned from Trump's administration
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Notable people who have been fired or resigned from Trump's administration

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis

(REUTERS/Leah Millis)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks reportedly announced her resignation after testifying about her job and being required to tell "white lies."

(Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired by President Trump in March 2018.

(Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

White House aide Omarosa Manigault insists she resigned and was not fired from her role in December 2017.

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned from his position on July 5, 2018 after a number of ethics scandals.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Sally Yates was fired from her post as acting attorney general when she refused to enforce President Trump's travel ban. 

(Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Rob Porter resigned as White House staff secretary in February 2018 amid abuse allegations made by his ex-wives.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

White House Counsel Don McGahn

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

H.R. McMaster was replaced by John Bolton as national security advisor in March 2018.

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

White House aide Kelly Sadler left her position in June 2018 after reportedly mocking Sen. John McCain.

(REUTERS/Leah Millis)

Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn announced his resignation in March 2018 after becoming a key architect of the 2017 tax overhaul 

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser in February after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his interactions with Russian officials. 

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

President Trump announced David Shulkin was out as secretary of veterans affairs by sending a tweet announcing he had nominated his personal physican, Ronny Jackson, to replace him on March 28, 2018.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in early May.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned in July.

(June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus resigned in July.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Former advisor to President Donald Trump Steve Bannon resigned in August.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Anthony Scaramucci, former White House communications director was fired in July after just 10 days on the job. 

(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Trump fired Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh amid White House leaks in April.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files)

Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price resigned in late September. 

(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Trump fired U.S. Attorney in Manhattan Preet Bharara in March.

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Mike Dubke resigned as White House communications director in late May.

(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Walter Shaub, former Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics in Washington, DC resigned in July.

(Photo Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

White House deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka resigned in August 2017. 

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Rick Dearborn, White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs, left the White House in December 2017.

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)


Conventional wisdom in Washington now indicates that Bolton, former US ambassador to the UN, would take over for McMaster in the top security adviser role to Trump.

In late February, amid a marked thaw in North and South Korea tensions, as the prospect of diplomacy looked brighter than ever, Bolton wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal called "The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First."

In the article, Bolton argues that North Korea has given the US no choice, and must be attacked before it perfects its fleet of nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. In making his argument, Bolton never once mentioned South Korea, which North Korea holds hostage with a massive installation of hidden artillery guns.

Experts estimate that thousands would die in Seoul, the capital of a democratic, loyal US ally, for every hour of fighting with North Korea.

"It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current 'necessity' posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons by striking first," Bolton concludes his article.

After North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly expressed interest in denuclearizing his country to South Korean diplomats, Bolton dismissed it as a trick.

"The only thing North Korea is serious about is getting deliverable nuclear weapons," he told Fox News. Bolton frequently appears on Fox, Trump's favorite news station, to talk about North Korea in his characteristically hawkish way.

Bolton's Twitter feed is a constant stream of reminders of links between North Korea's weapons of mass destruction programs and those in Syria and Iran.

Bolton believes, not without evidence, that North Korea could become an exporter of dangerous technologies that would potentially threaten US lives.

Trump already had a North Korea hawk. Bolton is a super hawk.

But McMaster wasn't exactly a dove on North Korea either. McMaster reportedly pushed the idea of striking North Korea, though perhaps in a more limited fashion than all-out war.

In November and December of 2017, persistent reports came out that Trump's inner circle was weighing a "bloody nose" attack on North Korea. But by the new year, military and administration officials had started to pour cold water on the notion.

On Thursday, the commander of the US military in the Pacific said that if the US does go to war with North Korea, it will be all out war.

The rumors of McMaster's ouster come after another Trump administration move that was perceived to steer the White House in a hawkish direction, when Trump announced that CIA director Mike Pompeo would replace Tillerson.

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