President Donald Trump rebuked his former national security adviser John Bolton on Wednesday by stating Bolton was dismissed for making “some very big mistakes.”

Trump also told reporters at the White House that Bolton, the hawkish former ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bushwasn’t in line with his agenda and failed to get along with other administration officials. Bolton was fired on Tuesday after Trump announced the news on Twitter.

The president slammed Bolton, claiming he “set us back” on several national security issues and said one particular decision Bolton took was “not smart”. Trump specifically pointed to an error Bolton made soon after joining the administration in April 2018, when the former Bush official cited the “Libyan model” to address a strategy for dealing with North Korea. Bolton perceived the authoritarian regime as a severe nuclear threat. North Korea, led by Kim Jong-Unreportedly interpreted Bolton’s remark as an attack and feared its government could end up being dismantled and its leader killed the way Libya’s Moamar Gaddafi was during the Arab Spring in 2011. Gaddafi was captured and murdered by rebel forces.

“And it set us back, and frankly he wanted to do things — not necessarily tougher than me — You know John’s known as a tough guy. He’s so tough he got us into Iraq … but he’s actually somebody I had a very good relationship with. But he wasn’t getting along with people in the administration that I consider very important.”

Trump lambasted Bolton for the role he played in the United States becoming involved in the Iraq War and mocked him as “Mr. Tough Guy” for his hawkish tendencies.

Bolton also disputed reports that he was ousted from the White House. He tweeted that he offered his resignation on Monday and added that Trump had requested to discuss this on Tuesday.

Bolton also opposed Trump on other foreign policy issues, like those related to Iran and Afghanistan. The former Bush administration official was also reportedly against Trump’s cancelled plans to meet with the Taliban at Camp David, a disagreement that is said to have marked the boiling point of his fraught relationship with the president.


Trump stopped short of telling reporters on Wednesday who he is considering to replace Bolton, although he said he had five people in mind and would announce his new pick for national security adviser next week.

“We have a lot of good people who want that position,” Trump said. “Well, I have five people who want it very much.”

“There are five people I consider very qualified, good people I have gotten to know over the past three years,” Trump said.