(FILES) This file photo taken on February 24, 2017 shows former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference ...
Mike Theiler

Trump starts to realize that John Bolton still agrees with John Bolton

Updated

Donald Trump’s policy toward Venezuela hasn’t gone according to plan, and according to the Washington Post’s latest reporting, the president knows exactly who deserves the blame.

President Trump is questioning his administration’s aggressive strategy in Venezuela following the failure of a U.S.-backed effort to oust President Nicolás Maduro, complaining he was misled about how easy it would be to replace the socialist strongman with a young opposition figure, according to administration officials and White House advisers.

The president’s dissatisfaction has crystallized around national security adviser John Bolton and what Trump has groused is an interventionist stance at odds with his view that the United States should stay out of foreign quagmires.

The Post’s report added that Trump has said in recent days that Bolton wants to get him “into a war.”

The word “duh” keeps coming to mind.

On the surface, it’s easy to see why the president might feel frustrated. He sought national security advice from the White House national security adviser. That powerful aide encouraged Trump to follow a direction that, the president now seems to realize, wasn’t altogether wise.

But who’s fault is that? Is it just now dawning on Trump that John Bolton still agrees with everything John Bolton has believed for decades?

The president reportedly suspects his national security adviser wants to get him “into a war,” which is obviously the case because he’s John Bolton.

This has been obvious for quite a while. A year ago, when Trump tapped Bolton for the job, more than a few observers, including me, pointed out that the far-right Republican had a hawkish worldview that was wholly at odds with the president’s non-interventionist instincts.

It couldn’t have been simpler: non-interventionist presidents do not hire warmongers to guide the White House on matters of national security, which is exactly what Trump did last spring.

If you never saw a Trump stump speech before the election, you may not appreciate just how much the Republican enjoys reading – indeed, performing – Al Wilson’s “The Snake” parable. As regular readers may recall, the story is simple: a “tender woman” rescues a “vicious snake,” who repays her generosity by biting her.

When the dying woman asks why, the snake explains with a grin, “Oh shut up, silly woman. You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.”

In this case, a president rescued a far-right foreign policy hawk, who repaid his generosity by encouraging him to start wars. Trump is no longer pleased, but the silly president knew damn well his aide was a hawk before he took him in.