In what looks like a bit of post-palace intrigue, Trump administration CIA director and secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday blistered both former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, and John Bolton, Trump’s senior national security advisor, for their alleged actions during Trump’s presidency.
The question is… why? Unsurprisingly, I have a few questions, which we’ll get to in a minute.
In an appearance on Breitbart News Saturday, Pompeo torched Haley for allegedly trying to oust former Vice President Mike Pence, and lit up Bolton for allegedly releasing sensitive policy details in a tell-all book after leaving the administration.
While Haley seems stuck between remaining Trump’s friend and running for president in 2024 (one can’t serve in both roles), neither Bolton nor Trump would mind seeing the other catch on fire. [sarc, barely.]
In his own post-administration book, Love, Pompeo said he learned from former White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly about Haley’s attempt to push Mike Pence out of the vice presidency and herself into it, figuring that being second-in-line to the presidency was a pretty good idea after Trump lost the 2020 presidential election. Haley has dismissed Pompeo’s charges as “lies and gossip.” Ah, lies and gossip — an essential element of palace intrigue.
However, Pompeo told Breitbart Washington Bureau Chief Matthew Boyle that Kellyanne Conway, super-loyalist and senior advisor to Trump, said the same thing about Haley.
Here’s why it’s important, Matt. You watched the Trump administration try to upend decades of Washington, D.C., establishment policy, and you watched people get chewed up by the media, and you watched people decide to quit.
They couldn’t take it. And so there’[sic] people telling us all of that — ‘Run away, get out before your reputation is destroyed’ — and too many people quit, and too many people weren’t on the team.
Very interesting on several levels, which we’ll get to, as I said at the top. Pompeo continued:
And so the note I have in there about Ambassador Haley is less about that particular moment and more about, for a handful of us, who were there for all four years, working on American security alongside President Trump, we weren’t about to give an inch, we weren’t about to quit.
I became enormously frustrated with those who came in, punched their ticket, and went on and did something different or those who just had other missions that were somehow about themselves and not about delivering for the United States of America.
And, John Bolton?
When Boyle asked Pompeo for his thoughts on John Bolton, Pompeo absolutely went off on the former national security advisor, which was hardly a surprise, given Pompeo referred to Bolton in his book as “self-serving” and a “scumbag loser.” Pompeo took it a step further, writing: “I hope I can one day testify at a criminal trial as a witness for the prosecution.” Pompeo told Boyle:
So I’ve known John a long time. This was as disappointing for me as probably any other personal interaction. He and I think about America largely the same way, but he had a falling out with the president, and that’s fine too, but then he decides that he’s going to write a book while President Trump is still the Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America, making my job really, really hard.
He writes a book telling insider stories of what happened in the White House and how President Trump thinks about America and 50 different policy positions, and then I’m out traveling the world, and these foreign leaders are saying, ‘Hey can I talk to you? If I share something with you are you going to write a book while your boss is still in charge?’
I don’t think that’s ever happened before that a senior national security adviser has written a book while his boss was still in office. And that’s just nutty. It didn’t go through the complete clearance process adequately, and he had information in there that a federal district court judge said he thought was likely classified.
Pompeo added: “That’s just not what senior officials are supposed to do. We’re supposed to do the work for the American people and not decide to try and go vindicate your departure from the Trump administration with a tell-all book while that president is still in office.“
Now let’s get on to the questions and a few observations.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Mike Pompeo, for whom I have quite a bit of respect, was in effect doing to Haley and Bolton (who, in my not-so-humble opinion, comes off as a self-serving know-it-all), but here’s my first question: Did Pomeo trash Haley and Bolton — both of whom are considering a 2024 presidential run — solely out of loyalty to Donald Trump, or is there something more behind his take-down of his former Trump administration colleagues?
After all, Pompeo himself has more than a passing interest in the 2024 Republican nomination, as well. He told CBS News just last Tuesday he’ll decide on a presidential run in the “next handful of months,” and Trump won’t affect choice.
Susan and I are thinking, praying, trying to figure out if this is the next place to go serve. We haven’t gotten to that conclusion. We’ll figure this out in the next handful of months.
When asked how much Trump’s announced candidacy will affect his decision, Pompeo replied flatly replied: “None.”
Pompeo has said on several occasions he thinks Trump should be primaried in 2024, vs. simply handed the keys to the castle, which, I might add, is always a good idea — regardless of the respective candidate(s). During a November 2022 interview with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt, Pompeo took a few shots at his former boss:
He’ll have to explain why he thinks he should be that next president. What I hope he’ll talk about is things that matter to the American people, things that can work for them going forward. I served in the administration.
I’m proud of the policies we laid out. We need more seriousness. We need less noise. We need steady hands. We need leaders that are looking forward, not staring in the rearview mirror claiming victimhood.
Ouch. Trump doesn’t suffer criticism, kindly.
So again, what’s Pompeo’s primary motive in torching Haley and Bolton? Loyalty to his former boss — or trying to discredit as much of the non-Trump field as he can before the primaries begin? I don’t know, and neither does anyone reading this article.
And of course, there’s a rather popular governor in Florida who will likely have a “yuuge” impact on how things ultimately play out for the GOP, heading to the 2024 presidential election.
Incidentally, your not-so-humble political pundit has been called a DeSantis “fanboy” for supporting the Florida governor — by several Trump loyalists, no less. Imagine that.