Home/Daniel Larison/Will Trump Make Pompeo National Security Advisor?

Will Trump Make Pompeo National Security Advisor?

National Security Advisor John R. Bolton (L), acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney (C), and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Oval Office on July 26, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

CNN reports that Mike Pompeo is being considered as a possible replacement for Bolton while still remaining as Secretary of State:

Just one day after President Donald Trump dismissed national security adviser John Bolton, administration officials are discussing the possibility of replacing Bolton with his chief rival, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Under this scenario, the country’s top diplomat would absorb the national security adviser role and do both jobs, according to a senior administration official and a source familiar with the possibilities.

There are several other candidates under consideration, but the fact that Pompeo is even in the mix is a very bad sign of what is to come. Pompeo is arguably the worst Secretary of State in modern U.S. history. He is certainly one of the most dishonest and partisan to hold the position. He would be an equally poor National Security Advisor, and attempting to fill both roles would practically guarantee failure in each one. Just as Pompeo has done practically nothing to repair the damage that his predecessor did to the State Department, he is not likely to rebuild the policy process that Bolton destroyed.

As the president’s chief yes-man, he is never going to tell the president things that Trump doesn’t want to hear, and he isn’t going to provide him with the best information available. Pompeo wasn’t qualified to be Secretary of State, and he certainly isn’t qualified to have that job and be the president’s top adviser on national security. If Pompeo does get the appointment, it means that administration policies will remain unchanged, and whatever opportunity for wiser foreign policy that Bolton’s firing may have created will have been squandered.

Another report finds others sources that think Trump might pick Pompeo:

“My presumption is that the selection will be guided by Pompeo,” said one source close to the White House. “I could actually see [Trump] suggesting Pompeo do both roles.”

“This would eliminate conflicting viewpoints between [Trump’s] top foreign policy person and his [national security adviser], which Trump sees as somewhat repetitive,” the source said.

A different source said they believe Pompeo will “pull a Kissinger” and that “it would work perfectly for him since he wants to be the only one Trump sees.”

Pompeo can’t even do the one job he already has, and giving him added responsibility and power would be a terrible mistake.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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