Former NSC adviser on Bolton: It is the president who decides if we go to war

Stephen Hadley, a former national security adviser for the George W. Bush administration, said people shouldn’t be concerned about newly-appointed national security adviser John Bolton’s hawkishness because President TrumpDonald John TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE is ultimately the one who decides if the U.S. goes to war.

“On the issue of a lot of concern about whether Bolton will take the country to war ... it is the president that makes those decisions,” Hadley told ABC’s “This Week.” “I think the rhetoric out of John Bolton has been a little bit extreme for my taste.”

On Thursday, Trump announced that he would be replacing current national security adviser H.R. McMaster with Bolton, effective next month.


Bolton previously served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Bush and is seen as a hard-liner on foreign policy. He is a critic of the Iran nuclear deal and has advocated for a pre-emptive strike on North Korea.

In recent few weeks, chief economic adviser Gary CohnGary David CohnTrump officials slow-walk president's order to cut off Central American aid: report John Kelly had to break up argument between US trade officials: report The Hill's Morning Report — Dem ire at Barr intensifies MORE and Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTillerson meets with House Foreign Affairs Committee Overnight Defense: Trump rails against media coverage | Calls reporting on Iran tensions 'highly inaccurate' | GOP senator blocking Trump pick for Turkey ambassador | Defense bill markup next week Trump frustrated with advisers over Iran, wants to speak to leaders in Tehran: report MORE — who were both seen as moderate forces within the White House — also left the administration.

With Bolton’s appointment, many people speculate that Trump is moving to the right on foreign policy.

Hadley argued that, while the president was criticized for “too much rattling of the sword” against North Korea, it’s what got North Korea to open up to talks with Trump and what got China to back sanctions against North Korea.

Trump is expected to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the coming months to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.