The reshuffling continues. As President Donald Trump continues to prove either unwilling or unable to keep a stable team in place, the hits just keep on coming. Following the abrupt departure of national security adviser John Bolton from the White House this week, Reuters is now reporting that three of his top aides have also submitted their resignations this Wednesday. Those to do so have reportedly worked with Bolton for some time and include Bolton’s “top spokesman” Garrett Marquis, his communications director Sarah Tinsley, and his scheduler Christine Samuelian. The continued shake-ups have wide-ranging implications considering Bolton’s now previous role as National Security Council head.
According to a source speaking to Reuters, the latest crop of departures following Bolton’s exit were “amicable.” In a brief statement that the outlet obtained, Marquis shared:
‘It was an honor to serve my country, and I wish the president and the administration success moving forward.’
Bolton’s own departure from the White House was much less than amicable. Early Tuesday morning, Trump abruptly tweeted that he’d asked for and obtained Bolton’s resignation — but the kicked-out official promptly fired back, claiming that he himself had been the one to kickstart his departure. He tweeted shortly after the president’s initial message that he’d offered his resignation the night before at which time the president said they’d revisit the topic in the morning, and he texted journalists — like Fox News host Brian Kilmeade, who was on the air at the time — insisting that he resigned and was not fired.
These kinds of disputes have marked a number of other high-profile departures from the Trump administration. Did the officials resign? Were they kicked out? Does it matter?
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) summed up the issue:
‘I’m legitimately shaken by the grave instability of American foreign policy today. I’m no Bolton fan, but the world is coming apart, and the revolving door of U.S. leadership is disappearing America from the world just at the moment where a stable American hand is most needed.’
Bolton’s departure means that the president has now had four national security advisers and counting in the course of less than three years, considering the current service of Charles Kupperman as national security adviser in the time between Bolton’s departure and the official public choice of whoever’s coming next.
This whole meltdown got underway following Trump’s eventually cancelled plans to host the Taliban at Camp David on the weekend before the 9/11 anniversary for peace talks over the ongoing war in Afghanistan. According to reporting, Bolton passionately opposed that idea, but Trump seemed to press full steam ahead on — yet again — nothing but what he perceived as the strength of his own ego. Now we’re here, with “dead” peace talks, ongoing danger in Afghanistan, and an open question of who’s even going to be around in the near future to deal with any of this. Meanwhile, Trump, of course, would no doubt like us to believe that everything is coming along just fine and there’s no chaos to be concerned about in sight.