“Let me just start by saying something about John Bolton, because he did work for me,” said Condoleezza Rice to Fox News’ Martha MacCallum on “The Story” on Tuesday night about the sudden exit of Bolton from the Trump administration. “John has tremendous intellect. He cares deeply about this country and the role of the United States abroad. And I’m sure he did his best to give the president his unvarnished advice, which is what you’re supposed to do as national security adviser.”
She added, “But in the final analysis, if the national security adviser and the president are not on the same page, it’s not the president who’s going to go. And I’m sure that John understands that as a long-serving diplomat, long-serving policy expert.”
MacCallum noted that Rice’s remarks were “gracious,” but added there were times when Rice herself disagreed with those with whom she served — namely, former President George W. Bush.
“Certainly,” said Rice. She said, however, that she was “secretary of state, and when I said with President Bush that we were going to do certain things, we went ahead and did them. But we wanted to hear from people who disagreed. That’s the only way that you can make good policy … if you’re willing to take advice and listen. And then you have to make your own decision.”
“What does this move [today with Bolton] tell you about where the Trump White House is right now on foreign policy?” MacCallum asked.
“It’s not clear to me that personnel is policy, in this case,” noted Rice. “I do think that there’s been a kind of long-simmering disagreement between John, and perhaps the president, perhaps others in the administration. John can be sharp in his views. He can have kind of sharp elbows sometimes. And so maybe there’s been a simmering disagreement. But we’ll wait and see whether there are real policy differences here.”
— Martha MacCallum (@marthamaccallum) September 10, 2019
She added, “For instance, when it came to the decision about [scrapping a meeting with] the Taliban [at Camp David recently], I do believe that the president looked at what happened in Afghanistan and said, ‘How can I sit down and negotiate …