Historian Meacham: Bolton 'raises the stakes for military action around the world'

Presidential historian Jon Meacham on Friday said President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Arkansas governor says it's 'disappointing' vaccinations have become 'political' Watch live: Trump attends rally in Phoenix MORE's decision to name John Bolton as national security adviser “raises the stakes for military action around the world.”

During an interview on MSNBC, Meacham said that with the appointment Bolton is “getting a quite unexpected second bite at the apple" after serving as ambassador to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration.

Trump on Thursday announced the appointment in a tweet, noting that current national security adviser H.R. McMaster would be replaced on April 9.


Meacham said the move “raises the stakes for military action” worldwide due to Bolton's “long record of talking about using American power.”

“I think it raises the stakes for military action around the world. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” Meacham said. “You have to take people seriously, you take them at their word, and as you say, Bolton has a long record of talking about using American power.”

“One of the things that’s really interesting if you go back only ten years or so is you had a series of hawks in the — particularly in the second Bush term, George W. Bush term, who wanted to exert power even farther, beyond Afghanistan and Iraq,” he continued. “And it was George W. Bush, Condi Rice, who didn’t want to do it. It was people like Bolton who did. And what you fear is that that point of view is now getting a quite unexpected second bite at the apple.”

McMaster’s exit comes just one week after the president fired Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonHouse passes legislation to elevate cybersecurity at the State Department Biden's is not a leaky ship of state — not yet With salami-slicing and swarming tactics, China's aggression continues MORE, naming CIA Director Mike PompeoMike PompeoNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Poll: Trump leads 2024 GOP primary trailed by Pence, DeSantis Pence v. Biden on China: Competing but consistent visions MORE to replace the former Exxon CEO in the Cabinet role.

Democratic lawmakers have largely opposed the decision to add the hawkish Bolton to the Cabinet, expressing fears he could spearhead an effort to lead the country into war. 

“With the appointments of Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, @realDonaldTrump is successfully lining up his war cabinet,” tweeted Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyEquilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Olympics medals made of mashed up smartphones Lawmakers urge Biden to make 'bold decisions' in nuclear review OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats lay out vision for Civilian Climate Corps | Manchin to back controversial public lands nominee | White House details environmental justice plan MORE (D-Mass.) “Bolton played a key role in politicizing the intel that misled us into the Iraq War. We cannot let this extreme war hawk blunder us into another terrible conflict.”

Republicans supported the decision to add Bolton, including Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioBipartisan congressional commission urges IOC to postpone, relocate Beijing Games Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks Senators introduce bipartisan bill to secure critical groups against hackers MORE (R-Fla.).

“I know John Bolton well and believe he is an excellent choice who will do a great job as National Security Advisor,” Rubio said in a statement. “General McMaster has served, and will continue to serve, our nation well and I thank him for his service.”

Bolton had been a Fox News contributor since 2007.

During a pre-scheduled interview Thursday night on "The Story" with Martha MacCallum, Bolton expressed surprise when hearing the news of his selection.

“I think I still am a Fox News contributor,” said an amused Bolton to anchor Martha MacCallum at the start of the interview.

“No,” MacCallum clarified. “You’re not.”

Last week, Trump named longtime CNBC contributor and former Reagan budget official Larry Kudlow as his senior economic adviser.