When he left the White House earlier this week, John Bolton did not thank the president for the high privilege of serving the country, as other ejectees had before him. Instead, after Donald Trump tweeted that he had fired the national security adviser on Monday night, Bolton contradicted the president, saying that he’d offered to quit first. And after Trump went on a prolonged rant about how he, the president, was stronger than “Mr. Tough Guy,” Bolton announced that he was getting back into the political arena, rebooting his PAC and Super PAC and throwing money at candidates who disagreed with a certain someone’s national security policies.
“The John Bolton PAC and John Bolton Super PAC seek a strong, clear, and dependable U.S. national security policy, resting on constancy and resolve,” Bolton said in a press release issued Friday. “The experience that these incumbent members of Congress have provides them with a remarkable understanding and knowledge of the threats we face from international terrorism and rogue regimes such as Iran and North Korea.”
…While Trump and Bolton’s dramatic, ego-driven breakup seems inevitable in hindsight, it’s unclear whether Bolton has the leverage to truly strike back against Trump, other than through chest-thumping. The five recipients of Bolton’s donations—Tom Cotton, Cory Gardner, [Pols emphasis] Thom Tillis, Adam Kinzinger, and Lee Zeldin, all former recipients of Bolton PAC money—share his hawkish stance on foreign policy, but should Trump’s differences with Bolton become a matter of doctrine for his rabid base, taking the former national security adviser’s money could become a black mark on right wing résumés. [Pols emphasis]
So first of all, we have to call out the major mistake of Sen. Cory Gardner’s views on North Korea characterized as in meaningful disagreement with President Donald Trump, since Gardner’s statements on North Korea have blown with the wind during the last couple of years of on-again off-again detente with the “Hermit Kingdom” under the current president. Far from challenging Trump over his erratic and concession-free engagement with North Korea, Gardner has been forced to both repeatedly praise Trump while simultaneously maintaining the fiction that the Trump administration’s policy toward North Korea reflects the “maximum pressure” Gardner insists is needed.
With most of the world breathing a sigh of relief now that Bolton’s belligerent brand of foreign policy no longer has Trump’s ear, it’s tough to imagine who this endorsement would motivate to support Gardner. Trump’s base is hearing a negative message about Bolton, and that’s still Gardner’s base, too. And as far as voters who don’t like Trump are concerned, how many of them want to be on John Bolton’s side of anything?
Either way, Gardner’s infamously petty and vengeful President is a hot potato he has struggled mightily to juggle ever since calling for Trump to pull out of the presidential race in October of 2016. Trying to stay alive politically in a state turning bluer every election while holding his conservative Trump-loving base together, the last thing Gardner needs is for all those glowing Trump Tweets he regularly receives to turn into…the other kind of Trump Tweets.