WASHINGTON — Former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton says he won’t support Nikki Haley for president in 2024 after clashing with her when they served in the Trump administration together.
Bolton criticized Haley as an attention-seeker in a new memoir and told McClatchy in an interview late last week that his former colleague would not have his support if she pursues the White House in four years.
“No, I wouldn’t support her for president,” Bolton said. “I think there are plenty of qualified candidates in 2024, and I think many of them are already in the field, including her.”
Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Donald Trump, is expected to seek higher office as one of several current and former Trump administration officials likely to enter the 2024 field as a candidate for president.
In a statement to McClatchy, Haley pushed back on Bolton’s comment that he wouldn’t support her presidential bid.
“I guess that makes us even, because I wouldn’t support him for president either,” she said.
Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whom Bolton also criticized, are also discussed as likely presidential candidates.
In his book, “The Room Where It Happened,” Bolton wrote that Haley set up a direct line of communication with Trump that allowed her to go around the secretary of State and the White House national security team to his frustration.
A former U.N. envoy himself, Bolton accused her of routinely overstepping her role in repeated attempts to raise her political profile.
“Haley had no qualifications for the job, but it was ideal for someone with presidential ambitions to check the ‘foreign policy’ box on her campaign résumé,” he wrote.
Bolton toyed with the idea of running for president in 2015 as a Republican and maintains a political action committee that supports House and Senate candidates who share his views on national security.
He told McClatchy in the interview that he was “not looking for another job in government” and had been pursuing a “range of options” since leaving the White House last September.
The book also sheds light on Bolton’s relationship with Pompeo, whom he described as privately critical of Trump.
Bolton told McClatchy that Pompeo had his “own political aspirations,” without characterizing them further.
“I thought on some policies in particular, on Afghanistan and North Korea, where I thought the most loyal thing to do was continue to urge the president to pursue policies that would leave America in a stronger position — for whatever reason, on those, just as examples, Pompeo didn’t join me in that,” Bolton said.
Bolton in his memoir was complimentary of Pence, saying he came to the aid of the sitting vice president when Trump solicited his opinion on dropping Pence from the 2020 ticket and replacing him with Haley to attract more women voters.
He wrote that he argued against the move, telling Trump that he “risked alienating people he needed” by turning his back on Pence, who has the support of evangelicals, “without necessarily generating new support because of the replacement.”
In the interview with McClatchy, Bolton declined to say who he would support in 2024 because it could lead to a Trump tirade against his favored candidates.
“It’s tempting, but I’m afraid that anybody that I said good things about would probably provoke a two-minute hate from the president. I don’t want to get anybody in trouble,” he said.
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