Mattis jokes to Bolton: 'I heard you’re actually the devil incarnate and I wanted to meet you'

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman Mattis20 years after 9/11, we've logged successes but the fight continues Defense & National Security — The mental scars of Afghanistan House panel advances 8B defense bill MORE received incoming White House national security adviser John Bolton at the Pentagon on Thursday, and joked that he heard Bolton was "the devil incarnate."

"Mr. Secretary, it's so good to see you. Thank you for inviting me over," Bolton told Mattis upon his arrival, as captured by reporters' microphones. 

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“Thank you for coming. It's good to finally meet you. I heard you’re actually the devil incarnate, and I wanted to meet you," Mattis joked. 

President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE announced last week that Bolton would be replacing national security adviser H.R. McMaster.  

Bolton previously served as United Nations ambassador and the undersecretary of State for arms control and international affairs. He was most recently an analyst at Fox News. 

He is often a target for the political left, due to his hawkish, conservative views. 

Bolton has suggested the possibility of a preemptive attack on North Korea to eliminate its nuclear arsenal, a position Mattis strongly opposes. 

Former President Carter slammed Bolton's appointment on Monday, saying it was "the worst mistake" Trump has made in office so far. 

“I have been concerned at some of the things he's decided. I think his last choice for national security adviser was very ill-advised. I think John Bolton has been the worst mistake he's made,” Carter said.