Facebook Fallout Deals Blow to Mercers’ Political Clout

“They’re selling magic in a bottle,” said Matt Braynard, who worked alongside Cambridge on the Trump campaign, for which he served as the director of data and strategy, and now runs Look Ahead America, a group seeking to turn out disaffected rural and blue-collar voters. “And they’re becoming toxic.”

The Mercers have made no public statements about Cambridge Analytica’s troubles. Through a spokeswoman, Ms. Mercer declined to answer questions about her role in Mr. Trump’s circle or the Facebook meeting about Cambridge Analytica.

But the effort by Ms. Mercer’s friend to help mend fences with Facebook hints at both Cambridge’s importance to her family’s political ambitions and the perils posed by Facebook’s ban.

Although a Cambridge spokesman last month downplayed Ms. Mercer’s role at the company — saying she had a “broad business oversight” role and no involvement in its daily operations — she serves on the company’s board and in the past has worked to drum up campaign business for Cambridge, according to Republicans who have worked with or competed against the firm. Former Cambridge employees said she was close to Alexander Nix, the company’s chief executive, who was suspended last month after reports on Cambridge’s harvesting of Facebook data.

Ms. Mercer’s intermediary with Facebook was Matthew Michelsen, a tech entrepreneur and investor based in San Diego, who lists his employer as GothamAlpha, a consulting firm. According to his LinkedIn profile, he has also advised major Silicon Valley companies, including Facebook and Palantir, a data-mining firm and intelligence contractor.

Mr. Michelsen’s meeting came on March 20, the day after Facebook announced that Cambridge had agreed to let it audit the firm’s computer servers. Mr. Michelsen met informally with a Facebook acquaintance who was accompanied by a Facebook lawyer, according to a person briefed on the meeting, and both Cambridge Analytica and the Mercers were discussed. The person discussed the meeting on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about it publicly. No immediate actions were taken as a result of Mr. Michelsen’s outreach.

Mr. Michelsen acknowledged in an interview on Thursday that he visited the company but he would not discuss the purpose of the trip, citing nondisclosure agreements Facebook required him to sign. Ms. Mercer declined to say whether she and Mr. Michelsen had discussed the purpose of the meeting or whether he had briefed her on it afterward.

Cambridge also mounted a more formal effort to assuage Facebook, the person said, sending its own lawyers to meet with Facebook on the same day Mr. Michelsen was there. The Cambridge lawyers asked Facebook officials whether the firm could be reinstated on the platform. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, acknowledged that meeting in an interview with The Times last month, saying that his company had not decided whether to lift the ban.

A Cambridge spokesman did not respond to requests for comment. In a lengthy public statement on Monday, the company stated that “the vast majority of our business is commercial rather than political, contrary to the way some of the media has portrayed us.”


Stephen K. Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, White House advisers, with Ms. Mercer at the 2017 inauguration. The firm helped the Trump campaign target voters.

In recent years, the Mercers have become among the most prominent and highly scrutinized political donors in the United States. In the early years of the Obama administration, they began doling out tens of millions of dollars to an eclectic array of conservative groups — many of them outside Washington’s mainline Republican establishment. Mr. Mercer invested $10 million in Breitbart News, the nationalist website, bringing on Mr. Bannon as chairman, while Ms. Mercer joined the boards of leading conservative think tanks.

The Mercers were critical of the Republican Party’s existing data apparatus, which was controlled by the party officials and consultants they hoped to disempower. Mr. Mercer bankrolled Cambridge Analytica in 2014, and Ms. Mercer encouraged candidates and PACs that took the family’s money to also hire the family’s data firm. Early in the 2016 presidential campaign, the Mercers backed Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, putting millions of dollars — and Cambridge Analytica — behind him.

But after Mr. Trump prevailed in the primaries, the Mercers switched candidates. In summer 2016, Ms. Mercer helped orchestrate a shake-up that put Mr. Bannon at the head of the Trump campaign. After Mr. Trump won the presidential election, he attended a costume ball at the Mercer estate on Long Island.

Ms. Mercer secured a slot on his transition team and prime seats at his inauguration. As Mr. Trump took office, she sought to take a leading role in America First Policies, a nonprofit formed to back the president’s agenda. Last spring, Ms. Mercer and her father attended the Time 100 black-tie gala, where she was feted as one of the country’s most influential people.

But her insistence on using Cambridge to provide the Trump group with voter data, and other clashes over strategy, alienated other donors and Trump allies, according to other Republicans. Ms. Mercer formed her own group, Making America Great, and hired Emily Cornell, a Cambridge executive, to run it.

Yet after an initial splash of spending in 2017 to promote Mr. Trump’s policies on environmental deregulation and other issues, Making America Great appears to have gone quiet. Ms. Cornell said she was no longer affiliated with Making America Great and could not comment on the group.

In November, Mr. Mercer stepped down from the helm of Renaissance Technologies, one of the world’s most successful hedge funds, as some investors began expressing dismay over his alliance with Mr. Trump.


Donald J. Trump arriving for a party at the home of Robert Mercer, one of his biggest campaign donors, in December 2016.

Evan Vucci/Associated Press

The family is likely to retain significant influence in broader conservative circles thanks to its vast fortune, which finances donations that many political organizations and candidates are eager to accept. The family foundation handed out about $20 million to more than two dozen conservative think tanks, charter school groups, watchdog outfits and other nonprofit organizations in 2016, according to its most recent tax return.

Ms. Mercer remains a trustee of the Heritage Foundation, a prominent Washington think tank that has provided the Trump administration with grist for a range of initiatives. The foreign policy hawk John R. Bolton, whose super PAC the Mercers lavished with cash and whom Ms. Mercer once lobbied the White House to make secretary of state, was recently tapped to become Mr. Trump’s national security adviser.

The family has also donated $4.5 million to Republican candidates and super PACs during the 2018 election cycle, putting the Mercers among the top 20 donors in the country. And the father-daughter duo still inspire fear: Virtually no Republicans were willing to speak on the record about the family’s troubles.

“I would not confuse silence with them being out,” said Dan K. Eberhart, a Colorado drilling-services executive who is active in America First Policies, now the lead pro-Trump political advocacy group. “I think they’re very strategic, and I think they’re quiet folks.”

Any contributions the family gives directly to candidates and super PACs will be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission. But their contributions to ideological nonprofit groups like the Heartland Institute, which disputes the scientific consensus on climate change, may become less visible in the future. In 2016, when the Mercers’ backing of Mr. Trump subjected the family to intense public scrutiny, the Mercer foundation’s largest contribution was to DonorsTrust, an advisory group for conservative givers.

That grant, the Mercer foundation’s first recorded contribution to DonorsTrust, could herald a shift in the family’s philanthropic strategy. DonorsTrust helps wealthy conservatives obtain charitable tax benefits while — if so desired — shielding their giving from public view. The donor records a contribution to DonorsTrust and recommends potential recipients, while grantees receive a donation from DonorsTrust charitable vehicles. In 2016, DonorsTrust disbursed more than $66 million worth of such grants.

“Donor-advised funds offer you any level of privacy you’d like from the receiving organization,” states a promotional pamphlet available from the DonorsTrust website. “A donor can ask the fund provider to share their full name with one favored grantee and keep their identity private from other.” Such privacy can be useful to donors who “may be supporting a sensitive or personal cause that could endanger familial or professional harmony,” according to the pamphlet.


Alexander Nix, chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, at the Concordia Summit for public-private business partnerships in New York in September. The firm claimed to have developed psychographic profiles that could predict the political leanings of every American adult.

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Such mechanisms, which are legal, are used by many donors on the right and the left. Ms. Mercer declined to answer questions about whether she intended to shift more of her family’s future political philanthropy into intermediaries like DonorsTrust. A 2017 tax return for the Mercer foundation is not yet publicly available.

“Ms. Mercer is a private person,” her spokeswoman said in a statement. “And she does not intend to discuss with the media either the conversations she has with her close friends or her philanthropic and charitable giving.”

Lawson Bader, the president of DonorsTrust, referred questions to the Mercers. “I do not discuss DonorsTrust accounts real or imagined,” he said in an email.

The Facebook scandal has hit just as the Mercers appear to be expanding their business in the world of big data. Public records show that Ms. Mercer, her sister Jennifer and Mr. Nix serve as directors of Emerdata, a British data company formed in August by top executives at Cambridge Analytica and its affiliate, SCL Group, according to British corporate records.

Incorporation documents state that Emerdata specializes in “data processing, hosting and related activities.” An SCL official told Channel 4, a British television station, that Emerdata was established last year to combine SCL and Cambridge under one corporate entity.

Exactly what ambitions the Mercers, who joined the Emerdata board last month, have for the company is unclear. Another Emerdata director, Johnson Ko Chun Shun, is a Hong Kong financier and business partner of Erik Prince — the brother of the education secretary, Betsy DeVos, and founder of the private security firm formerly known as Blackwater. Mr. Ko, who declined to comment, is a substantial shareholder and deputy chairman in Mr. Prince’s Africa-focused logistics company, Frontier Services Group.

Mr. Ko and Mr. Prince have links to the Chinese government: Another major Frontier investor is Citic, a state-owned Chinese financial conglomerate that for decades has employed the sons and daughters of the Communist Party’s elite families.

Emerdata has a second Hong Kong-based director, Peng Cheng. Little public information about Ms. Peng, a British citizen, is available. But a woman with the same name is the chief executive of a publishing and online game company located in the same Hong Kong office tower as Frontier Services. In 2016, Mr. Ko’s brokerage company said it would buy a stake in Ms. Peng’s company, Culturecom.

While in Hong Kong in September to speak at a conference, Mr. Nix told Bloomberg that Cambridge Analytica was looking into China for commercial ventures. “We’ve been scoping this market for about a year,” he said. “We see huge opportunity to bring some of these technologies to advertising and marketing space brands.”

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Trump’s Chief Adviser on Homeland Security Resigns


Thomas P. Bossert, President Trump’s homeland security adviser, during a briefing at the White House in August.

Tom Brenner/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced another major departure from its senior ranks on Tuesday, with the resignation of Thomas P. Bossert as President Trump’s chief adviser on homeland security.

Mr. Bossert’s resignation coincided with the arrival of John R. Bolton as the president’s national security adviser, and was an unmistakable sign that Mr. Bolton is intent on naming his own people.

In a statement, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said the president thanked Mr. Bossert, 43, for “for his patriotic service and wishes him well.”

“The president is grateful for Tom’s commitment to the safety and security of our great country,” Ms. Sanders said. “Tom led the White House’s efforts to protect the homeland from terrorist threats, strengthen our cyber defenses, and respond to an unprecedented series of natural disasters.”

Mr. Bossert, who served in the George W. Bush administration, made a name for himself in the current White House as the public face of the administration’s response to hurricanes that tore through Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

But administration officials said he chafed at that part of his job, preferring to get involved in policy issues on counterterrorism and cyberwarfare.

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In John Bolton, Trump Finds a Fellow Political Blowtorch. Will Foreign Policy Burn?

And yet Mr. Kissinger mastered the office by mastering his relationship with a sometimes volatile boss. For Mr. Bolton, the new assignment may require a form of diplomacy that his previous roles did not, one that eluded his predecessor, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, as well as Rex W. Tillerson, the recently ousted secretary of state.

Mr. Bolton may amplify Mr. Trump’s most bellicose instincts, as their critics fear, but the two differ in key areas and even admirers wonder what will happen then.

“How will he manage Trump?” asked Eric S. Edelman, an under secretary of defense under Mr. Bush who was often allied with Mr. Bolton. “Trump may love to see John defending him on Fox News. But when John is going to be responsible for policies, he has very strong convictions on things, some of which won’t line up with the president’s.”

“John’s personality is also fairly explosive like the president’s,” he added. “I don’t know how that will work out. That will be John’s big challenge.”

‘Americanist’ Meets ‘America First’

Mr. Bolton defines himself as an “Americanist” sworn to defend the interests of the United States. Too often, in his view, America has sacrificed its own sovereignty following the chimera of global governance.

“This is almost identical to President Trump’s theme of America First,” said Frederick Fleitz, a former intelligence officer who worked for Mr. Bolton. “Mr. Bolton disagrees with many of the Washington elite, or maybe the international elite, who think globalism or multilateralism should be a priority over the security of the United States. That’s exactly where President Trump is.”

In the world of carrot-and-stick diplomacy, Mr. Bolton is a stick man. “I don’t do carrots,” he has said. Opponents call him a warmonger who never met a problem that did not have a military solution, and he remains a strong supporter of the invasion of Iraq and has made the case for strikes against North Korea and Iran to stop their nuclear programs.


Mr. Bolton before President George W. Bush announced his appointment as ambassador to the United Nations during a news conference at the White House in 2005. The Senate refused to confirm him.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Mr. Bolton insists that he does not relish military action. While he declined to be interviewed for this story, he authorized a longtime assistant, Sarah Tinsley, to forward a comment comparing international relations to a 1980s television commercial declaring Ivory soap 99 and 44/100ths percent pure.

“My belief is diplomatic crises, 99 and 44/100ths percent of them can be resolved with public diplomacy,” Mr. Bolton said. “That’s my view. To those who say I’m going to start a war, that’s what I think.”

Some of Mr. Bolton’s harshest critics are those who once worked with him. They use words like “arrogant,” “backstabber” and “disloyal” and others that cannot be printed in a family newspaper. Some view his ascension to the right hand of an already mercurial president with deep alarm.

“This will be the scariest thing that’s happened to us in 50 years,” said Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr. Powell when he was secretary of state. “Bolton is several things, none of them good. He’s an absolutely brutal manager, treats people like dirt. The stories that have come out are accurate, but they don’t go far enough. And he’s also possessed of some views that are just revolting.”

Revolting to his adversaries or refreshing to his admirers, his views are no mystery to anyone who follows him on Twitter or Fox News. In a town of cautious talking points, Mr. Bolton, like Mr. Trump, finds no virtue in subtlety. “China’s jived us for 25 years.” The Iran nuclear deal “must be ripped up.”

The North Koreans are the “biggest con men in the world,” and their planned talks with South Korea could be a “propaganda stunt” to buy time. “Question: How do you know that the North Korean regime is lying?” Mr. Bolton asked recently on Fox. “Answer: Their lips are moving.”

When on another occasion the Fox host Tucker Carlson said the ouster of Saddam Hussein in Iraq had empowered Iran, Mr. Bolton dismissed him. “No,” he said, “because I think your analysis is simple-minded, frankly.”

“He has a very provocative style,” said Stephen J. Hadley, who was Mr. Bush’s national security adviser. “That’s why he was great on Fox. That’s why he was great on the speaking circuit. He loves to provoke. He loves the combat.”

Mr. Hadley, Ms. Rice and other Bush veterans privately cautioned against Mr. Bolton being named deputy secretary of state when Mr. Trump took office. Mr. Hadley declined to discuss that last week, but like other prominent Republicans who do not subscribe to Mr. Bolton’s style or philosophy, he has reconciled himself to the new appointment.

“You can’t fault the choice,” Mr. Hadley said. “This is a very smart guy, very well educated, very well experienced and knows how to work the system.”

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, who does not share Mr. Bolton’s hawkish views or approach to diplomacy, nonetheless praised Mr. Bolton, who worked for him in several capacities.

“John, for all of his bluster, his conservative and hawkish bluster, is a pragmatist in my view,” Mr. Baker said in an interview. “He’s pragmatic enough to want to get things done. The most important thing to him is making it happen, not what the philosophy is after it happens so much.”

Mr. Bolton can surprise people with an unlikely charm and lively sense of humor. After leaving government, he worked for years with political and military figures from across the political spectrum who were paid to advocate for the exiled Iranian opposition group known as the Mujahedeen Khalq, or M.E.K., once deemed a terrorist group until Hillary Clinton reversed the designation.


Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

“He was a pleasant guy personally, but a pleasant guy can still end up urging someone to use nukes, just as an irascible guy can,” said Edward G. Rendell, the former Pennsylvania governor and Democratic Party chairman who was also paid to advocate for the group. “I know a lot of people who are a little crazy, who are pleasant.”

Modest Beginnings

Mr. Bolton, 69, was born in Baltimore to first-generation American parents who never graduated from high school. His father, a firefighter and machinist, was a quiet man who kept his opinions to himself. Mr. Bolton inherited his outspokenness from his mother, who he said “was not a quiet woman” and was a socialist in her youth.

Growing up in a rowhouse in southwest Baltimore, Mr. Bolton had police officers, roofers and waitresses for neighbors, an upbringing that shaped his conservative outlook. As a 15-year-old, he handed out leaflets for Barry Goldwater, the Republican presidential candidate in 1964.

He went to private school on scholarship and earned his way to Yale for college and law school. During a Class Day speech, Mr. Bolton denounced liberal self-congratulation at Yale. “The conservative underground is alive and well here,” he said. “If we do not make our influence felt, rest assured we will in the real world.”

Friends said he does not talk much about his youth but was likely shaped by his encounters with wealthy elites. “As someone myself who came from modest means and had the opportunity to be exposed to people with more opportunities than I had, I can understand that John, who had much the same experience at prep school and later at Yale, was motivated by that,” said Tom Boyd, a former aide to Mr. Bolton.

Mr. Bolton had little interest in fighting in Vietnam, and joined the National Guard to avoid it. “I made the cold calculation that I wasn’t going to waste time on a futile struggle,” he wrote in his memoir, “Surrender Is Not An Option.”

Instead, he interned for Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, then practiced law at the Washington law firm of Covington & Burling. He met Mr. Baker during the 1978 off-year elections, then contacted him for a job after Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election.

Mr. Bolton was named assistant administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, where M. Peter McPherson, who led the agency, remembers him as “very good at getting the bureaucracy to work, pulling together the policies without huge conflict.”

During Mr. Reagan’s second term, Mr. Bolton became an assistant attorney general, working on Robert H. Bork’s ill-fated Supreme Court nomination and getting to know a congressman named Dick Cheney, a member of a committee investigating the Iran-contra affair.

When the elder George Bush was elected, Mr. Baker named Mr. Bolton assistant secretary of state for international organizations. Mr. Bolton successfully pressed the United Nations to repeal a resolution equating Zionism with racism, making him a hero to Israel supporters.

When George W. Bush tapped Mr. Baker to manage the Florida presidential election recount in 2000, Mr. Bolton volunteered to join the effort, becoming an aggressive advocate in the war over hanging chads. After the Supreme Court ended the recount, Mr. Cheney, now the vice president-elect, pressed Mr. Powell to hire Mr. Bolton, who became assistant secretary for nonproliferation and arms control.

‘Sledgehammer Diplomacy’

To many, Mr. Bolton was Mr. Cheney’s agent at the State Department.

Mr. Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, found Mr. Bolton’s militarism troubling. At one point, Mr. Wilkerson said he warned Mr. Bolton that war with North Korea could result in 100,000 casualties within 30 days, many of them American.

“I don’t do war,” he recalled Mr. Bolton replying. “That’s what you guys do.”

“Oh, you just advocate war?” Mr. Wilkerson said he responded.


Defense Secretary Jim Mattis greeting Mr. Bolton at the Pentagon last month after Mr. Trump announced his appointment as national security adviser.

Alex Brandon/Associated Press

“Damn straight,” Mr. Bolton said by this account.

(A person familiar with Mr. Bolton’s thinking said he does not recall the exchange.)

James A. Kelly, then an assistant secretary seeking a diplomatic solution with North Korea, found Mr. Bolton an obstacle. “He and his people drove my staff nuts,” he recalled. Mr. Bolton disagreed with the policy. “He honored it, but he tried to undermine it.”

Mr. Bolton led the move by Mr. Bush to withdraw from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty with Russia. A staunch opponent of the International Criminal Court, he traveled the world negotiating agreements with countries committing them to never refer American soldiers on their territory to the tribunal.

He also helped create the Proliferation Security Initiative, an agreement to interdict shipments of materials for weapons of mass destruction. “It was very consistent with John’s view that we don’t need international staffs, we don’t need new institutions, we just need countries to work together,” said Robert Joseph, an ally on the National Security Council staff.

Along the way, Mr. Bolton left bruised feelings. Mr. Powell’s team thought Mr. Bolton was undercutting him. Mr. Bolton thought Mr. Powell was undercutting Mr. Bush’s policies.

“He’s a very forceful official, and he will argue his points and you had better be ready to argue yours because he’s going to be very well prepared,” said Elliott Abrams, a deputy national security adviser to Mr. Bush. “A lot of people who are making these complaints simply lost arguments to him. But I never found him to be in any way tricky or underhanded.”

When Mr. Bush was re-elected, Mr. Cheney pressed Ms. Rice, the incoming secretary, to give Mr. Bolton another senior job. She was wary, believing Mr. Bolton had been a “constant source of trouble for Colin,” as she put it in her memoir, and “I wasn’t sure that I could fully trust John to follow my lead at State.” Instead, she tapped him for the United Nations.

That provoked a revolt among former colleagues, who told the Senate that Mr. Bolton had been rough on subordinates and politicized intelligence, citing in particular a report on biological weapons in Cuba. Mr. Bolton flatly denied that, but Mr. Powell quietly told senators that he did not think Mr. Bolton was right for the job, and the Senate refused to confirm him.

Mr. Bush gave Mr. Bolton a recess appointment, sending him to the United Nations, where he jousted with diplomats and functionaries to overhaul the organization and block moves he thought undermined American sovereignty. Inside the administration, he resisted negotiations with North Korea, deeming it appeasement. When North Korea denounced him as “human scum” or Venezuela called him “the most sinister figure in the U.N.,” he took it as a badge of honor.

“He was a practitioner, sometimes along with others, of sledgehammer diplomacy, a take-it-or-leave-it approach to diplomacy,” said R. Nicholas Burns, who as under secretary sparred regularly with Mr. Bolton. Mr. Burns argued for compromise and patient work with allies. “You can’t just default to leverage, pressure and force.”

When his recess appointment expired after 17 months, the Senate was still disinclined to confirm Mr. Bolton, who was privately upset that Mr. Bush did not push more. He left his post and became an outspoken critic of the president who appointed him, lamenting what he saw as the drift from Mr. Cheney’s assertiveness to Ms. Rice’s accommodation, especially on North Korea.

Now the North Korea brief falls to him as his new boss prepares to meet with its leader, Kim Jong-un. In Fox appearances before his appointment, Mr. Bolton said the only topic of discussion should be the logistics for how North Korea would surrender its nuclear weapons program to the United States.

The meeting, he suggested, should be held in the same room in Geneva where Mr. Baker confronted Iraq’s foreign minister shortly before the Gulf War of 1991. “I think Kim Jong-un ought to sit in that room and look around,” he said, “and think about what happened when he stiffed a former U.S. president.”

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John Kasich Is Back in New Hampshire. It’s Not for the Foliage.

It is both unclear what Mr. Kasich is doing here, in the first-in-the-nation primary state, and entirely clear what he is doing. He is not not running for president.

There would be nothing unusual about this — convening with past supporters and advisers from his 2016 campaign, making the rounds to talk up his record, congratulating the locals on their wisdom, their food, their can-do attitude — but for some inconvenient political context for Mr. Kasich.

President Trump intends to run for re-election in 2020, and he has beaten Mr. Kasich before — here (by nearly 20 percentage points), elsewhere, and everywhere but the governor’s home state during the last round of primaries. In a party that, since then, has broadly pledged itself to Mr. Trump in sickness and in health, the president would almost certainly beat him again if the race were held today.

But then, the race is not being held today, and Mr. Kasich is not exactly who he was in 2016, when he finished a semi-surprising second here. He is now one of the few prominent Republicans willing to knock Mr. Trump on health care, climate change, Russia and other issues in front of any television camera that will have him. In doing so he has won a new set of national admirers, though not always those who vote in Republican primaries.


Mr. Kasich, who leaves office in January, said another run for the presidency is not on his immediate radar. But he is keeping his options open.

John Tully for The New York Times

“I think I’m increasingly viewed now as not just a Republican but as something different, kind of a hybrid,” he said in a half-hour interview on Tuesday, shuttling between stops in an S.U.V. “I have people of all shapes, sizes, philosophies and party preferences that approach me. But what does that mean? I don’t know. I’m on television, so all the sudden they want to talk to me. Television moves everybody up, right?”

That remains to be seen, electorally. A University of New Hampshire poll released in February found that 60 percent of the state’s Republicans would support Mr. Trump again in a primary; 18 percent planned to vote for someone else. Another recent poll was more generous to Mr. Kasich, though it still showed Mr. Trump with a clear edge. And while some prominent Republicans in the state, like former Senator John E. Sununu, remain vocal Kasich defenders, few sitting officeholders have made a point of consistently challenging Mr. Trump.

Mr. Kasich’s case against Mr. Trump rests as much on tone as substance. The governor, a longtime supporter of free-trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, has been sharply critical of the president’s tilt toward protectionism on trade, saying it runs afoul of the Republican Party he knew. He has also lamented the president’s bid to dismantle DACA, the program aimed at protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

On this and other issues, though, Mr. Kasich has sought to contrast himself with Mr. Trump most pointedly as a spokesman for national decency. Rarely was he more animated on Tuesday than during a discussion of the president’s Easter morning tweet declaring, “NO MORE DACA DEAL.” “On Easter,” the governor said on Tuesday, later adding, “Come on, leaders don’t do that.”

Officially, Mr. Kasich says, another run for president is not on his immediate radar, but he is keeping his options open, maintaining the relationships required for any prospective campaign.

Regardless of his eventual choice, Mr. Kasich has succeeded, at least, in installing himself permanently in the grand drama of the Trump era, drawing a pack of reporters to New Hampshire in an off-year on the pretext of a question-and-answer session at a college and ensuring that the news media will continue to track his doings once his term expires in January.

“He enjoys being consequential,” said Tom Rath, a senior national adviser to Mr. Kasich’s 2016 campaign and a former attorney general of New Hampshire. “That alone would be enough to continue this effort, whatever you want to call this effort.”

Mr. Kasich, 65, has excelled for decades at such relevance retention, to say nothing of reinvention. During a hiatus from politics in the early and mid-2000s, he was the host of a Fox News show, “Heartland With John Kasich,” broadcast live from Columbus, Ohio — and at times, a fill-in for Bill O’Reilly — while working as an investment banker for Lehman Brothers.

Known to colleagues as prickly and blunt as a nine-term congressman, he now projects a can’t-we-all-get-along buoyancy about the ways of the world, calling himself “the prince of light and hope” in the 2016 primary field and proving to be a prolific purveyor of campaign trail hugs.

Since then, Mr. Kasich’s perpetual skepticism of the president has contributed to the impression that he was something of a silver medalist in 2016, the last man standing between Mr. Trump and high office. In practice, that was Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Mr. Trump’s only true threat by the middle of the primary season. Mr. Kasich, who did stay in the race one day longer than Mr. Cruz despite trailing him by about 400 delegates, was such a nonfactor that Mr. Trump did not bother with a nickname for him until late April 2016. It was “1 for 38 Kasich.”

If the governor ran again, said Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Trump’s one-time campaign manager and a veteran of New Hampshire politics, “He’d be 0 for 50 John.”

Jeanie Forrester, the chairwoman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, reported few rank-and-file voter concerns about their leader in Washington, even as Trump critics like Mr. Kasich and Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, who visited last month, make pilgrimages to the state. “Everybody is feeling pretty good,” she said.

Still, Kasich allies see a way, noting the state’s wealth of independent voters and observing that far more New Hampshire residents sided against Mr. Trump, who won the primary with 35 percent of the vote, than with him. (Many more, of course, declined to support Mr. Kasich, who received 16 percent.)

As the generally popular governor of a longtime bellwether state, Mr. Kasich has distinguished himself from some fellow Republicans on policy, expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and pushing for new gun restrictions after recent mass shootings.

At least as central to his political brand, currently, is a contrarian streak that lurches beyond substance. He can speak at times like a sort of Midwestern oracle with a sweet tooth, by turns invoking Aristotle and Aquinas, raising the radio volume for “Stairway to Heaven” and holding forth on the majesty of dessert.

“Human reason is imperfect,” he said at one point during the interview, borrowing from his recent State of the State address back home.

“I like Bowie. I love Lady Gaga,” he said at another.

“Friendly’s!” he cried soon after, when a fellow passenger mentioned that a Friendly’s was near. “I want to go to Friendly’s.” (He got to go to Friendly’s, chasing his fish-and-chips from the diner with a kind of omnibus sundae known as the Jim Dandy.)

A short while later, Mr. Kasich arrived for the stated purpose of the trip: a fireside forum at New England College in Henniker, where a bipartisan crowd of some 150 students and political veterans received him warmly. “He’s a positive voice,” said Gary Glines, 60, whose wife, a Democrat, had turned his attention to Mr. Kasich before the 2016 primary. “She said, ‘You need to listen to this guy. He sounds like you.’ ”


Mr. Kasich spoke to a crowd of some 150 students and political veterans during a forum at New England College in Henniker, N.H., on Tuesday.

John Tully for The New York Times

By the night’s end, Mr. Kasich, appearing for over an hour, sounded like a person running for president — or, at least, a person reminding New Hampshire that he is not this president.

He lamented the “namby-pamby” of his fellow politicians. He pledged to “do the best I can at doing the best I can.” He encouraged the crowd to give an ovation to Dana Bash of CNN.

And when the moderator asked if Mr. Kasich believed New Hampshire should keep its place at the head of the political calendar, the governor pandered knowingly. The Iowa caucus, he said gently, should probably still come first, despite that state’s shortcomings. “I spent a year there one week,” Mr. Kasich said. “Just kidding, Iowa!”

The joke did not kill, even in this room.

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Best of Late Night: Dana Carvey Plays John Bolton With a ‘Hair Trigger,’ Emphasis on Hair


In an interview with Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show,” Dana Carvey portrayed John R. Bolton, the incoming national security adviser.


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Dana Carvey as John Bolton

Dana Carvey impersonated John R. Bolton, President Trump’s incoming national security adviser, in an interview with Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show” Wednesday night. It was a bit reminiscent of Carvey’s famous impression of the first President George Bush — but a few notches more ludicrous.

Colbert asked “Bolton,” who is known for his far-right views and is said to act abusively toward co-workers, for reassurance that he was not gunning for pre-emptive war with North Korea or Iran. The interview began with Carvey’s character pleading innocence, but it didn’t take long to fly off the rails.

By the end, his face was covered in an overgrown mustache, and he was attempting to breast-feed a golden retriever puppy.

Video by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Here’s how it started.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Ambassador Bolton, thank you for joining us.

DANA CARVEY: Oh, my pleasure, Stephen. It’s very important to me that nobody thinks President Trump is handing the keys to the war machine to some sort of hair-trigger lunatic.

COLBERT: Well, that is very reassuring, sir.

CARVEY: Because if I heard someone say that, I’d blow them up quick.

Midway through the interview, Colbert noticed something suspicious going on with his interviewee’s facial hair.

COLBERT: I feel like I do have to ask: Is your mustache getting larger?

CARVEY: Oh yeah, don’t worry about that — General Snowball here just gets a bit engorged when he smells a war coming on. You want action, don’t you boy? [pets mustache] Easy, fellow. Here, have some shampoo. [pulls out bottle]

Samantha Bee Broadcasts From Puerto Rico

Video by Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

Samantha Bee flew to Puerto Rico to tape Wednesday’s hourlong special episode of “Full Frontal.” She traveled around the island, taking a look at the efforts to restore power in cities and towns and the mountainous villages that were hardest hit by Hurricane Maria.

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‘Kiss Up, Kick Down’: Those Recalling Bolton’s U.N. Confirmation Process Say He Hasn’t Changed

In an appearance before a Senate committee vetting Mr. Bolton’s nomination in 2005, Mr. Ford, a former assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research in the Bush administration, summed up Mr. Bolton, then an under secretary of state for arms control and international security, as a “kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy.”

“I believed then, as I believe now, he lacks any of the qualities to be a senior government official,” Mr. Ford said last week. “It has been my experience that his mouth is much bigger than his brain.”

The Daily

Listen to ‘The Daily’: A Divisive Nominee

John R. Bolton, President Trump’s choice for national security adviser, was portrayed during a 2005 Senate confirmation hearing as a threat to U.S. interests.


The confirmation battle took place during the first years of the Iraq war, a conflict Mr. Bolton supported and defends to this day. In the run-up to the war, he was a key proponent of the administration’s argument for the invasion: that the president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, possessed weapons of mass destruction that threatened the United States.

“We are confident that Saddam Hussein has hidden weapons of mass destruction and production facilities in Iraq,” Mr. Bolton said in 2002. The claim was later shown to be false and based on flawed or selective intelligence.

Amid the emotions that the war by then engendered, consideration of Mr. Bolton’s nomination turned into a five-month standoff as Senate Democrats scrutinized what they saw as Mr. Bolton’s efforts to subvert the government’s own findings in pursuit of his and his allies’ beliefs.

The release of thousands of pages of documents revealed Mr. Bolton, an ally of Vice President Dick Cheney, to be a volatile, aggressive infighter, who seemed willing to cherry-pick intelligence, steamroll analysts he did not agree with and end-run his State Department bosses in pursuit of an agenda considered bellicose even among Bush administration hawks. He shared that penchant with Mr. Cheney, who repeatedly confronted intelligence professionals and agencies whose analytical assessments did not support his conclusions in favor of the Iraq war.

“A lot of officials in Washington behave badly, so that, sadly enough, was unlikely to be disqualifying,” said Antony J. Blinken, the committee’s Democratic staff director. But in examining reasons for Mr. Bolton’s behavior, “That’s when threads started emerging, and when we pulled on them, we started to find things that were truly disturbing, including to Republican members of the committee.”

But not all Republicans, according to Dan Diller, who was deputy staff director for the committee majority.

“There was some validity” to accusations of Mr. Bolton’s behavior during the investigation, Mr. Diller wrote in an email, but it “found no clear ethical transgressions. He was an aggressive, sharp-elbowed bureaucratic operator who always tried to get his way, but would relent in the end rather than engaging in insubordination.”

When Mr. Bush nominated Mr. Bolton for the United Nations job in March 2005, Condoleezza Rice, then the secretary of state, praised him as a “tough-minded diplomat” with a successful track record as an under secretary for arms control and an assistant secretary of state for international organizations.

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Best of Late Night: Trevor Noah Attacks John Bolton for Suggesting the U.S. Should Bomb Iran

Samantha Bee, Car Thief

Video by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Colbert sat down with Samantha Bee, who had traveled to Washington over the weekend to attend the March for Our Lives. Bee said she was stirred by the young people she met protesting, adding that when she was young, her hobbies were a bit more unsavory than theirs.

“I was stealing cars when I was 15, 16 years old,” she admitted. “I was terrible.” Colbert was stupefied to hear that.

STEPHEN COLBERT: What was your favorite car to steal?

SAMANTHA BEE: We stole several cars. Ahh!

COLBERT: You stole the keys, or would you hot-wire them?

BEE: I had a boyfriend at the time, and we were a little bit of a Bonnie and Clyde situation.

COLBERT: Was he the bad influence, or were you the bad influence?

BEE: He was the bad influence, but then I became the bad influence. It did not last long, because ultimately I’m a Catholic schoolgirl at heart. Like, I like a gold star. It was a fleeting — it was a stage. I’m not recommending it.

COLBERT: I thought I was a troubled kid, but I never engaged in grand larceny.

The Punchiest Punchlines (Stormy Edition)

Video by The Late Late Show With James Corden

“The two people who President Trump has not criticized on Twitter are Vladimir Putin and Stormy Daniels. The only two, yeah. Of course, Trump was spanked in a hotel room by one — and then he had sex with Stormy Daniels.” — CONAN O’BRIEN

“According to a new article, President Trump has been privately telling people that Stormy Daniels’s claims of an affair with him are a hoax and that she, quote, ‘isn’t his type.’ And that’s ridiculous: We all know Trump’s type is whoever he’s not married to at the time.” — JAMES CORDEN

The Bits Worth Watching

Conan O’Brien admitted to Magic Johnson that he used to root for Larry Bird. “I rooted for him because he was the palest, sickest man, and he was playing in the N.B.A.,” O’Brien said.

Video by Team Coco

Even Trump’s lawyers now have to lawyer up.

Video by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

What We’re Excited About on Wednesday Night

Video by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

The always-hilarious Dana Carvey will sit down with Colbert on “The Late Show” on Wednesday.

Also, Check This Out


Roseanne Barr is back with “Roseanne,” and its portrait of working-class Americans is as topical as ever, starting with her character’s full-throated support for President Trump.

Brinson+Banks for The New York Times

Roseanne Barr is back. The actor and comedian spoke with our politics editor about the long-awaited return of her ABC sitcom, “Roseanne,” and her support of Trump.

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Editorial: An Ohio Bill Would Ban All Abortions. It’s Part of a Bigger Plan.


Sally Deng

While Donald Trump once said he was “very pro-choice,” since the start of his presidential campaign his stance on abortion has been consistent: It should be banned, no matter the consequences to women. At times, he has even veered to the right of the mainstream anti-abortion movement, as when he said during a primary season town hall event that women who seek abortions should face “some form of punishment.” Most anti-abortion politicians profess to want to protect women, even when they pass laws that harm them.

Now legislators in one state want Mr. Trump’s cruel vision to become reality. Ohio lawmakers have proposed legislation to ban all abortions, period, with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest or to save a woman’s life.

Carrying to term a pregnancy against one’s will is punishment enough — in fact, it can amount to torture, according to the United Nations Human Rights Council. But the Ohio bill would not only cut off access to the procedure, it would also open the door to criminal charges against both abortion providers and women seeking the procedure. One of the Republican co-sponsors of the legislation, State Representative Ron Hood, said it would be up to prosecutors to decide whether to charge a woman or a doctor, and what those charges would be. But they could be severe. Under the bill, an “unborn human” would be considered a person under state criminal homicide statutes. Thus, a prosecutor could decide to charge a woman who ended a pregnancy with murder. In Ohio, murder is punishable by life in prison or the death penalty.

How’s that for pro-life?

If this all sounds legally unsound, that’s because it is. The Ohio bill is “blatantly unconstitutional,” said Brigitte Amiri, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, which has challenged anti-abortion laws in the state. “This isn’t a hard one.”

That’s because the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision made abortion legal up to the point of fetal viability, which has shifted over time due to medical advancements in treating premature babies, but now occurs at about 24 weeks of pregnancy. Any ban on abortion before that time — say, at 15 weeks, as would be the case under a law that was passed and legally blocked in Mississippi last week — is generally considered unconstitutional.

This rash of radically unconstitutional bills is appearing by design. The anti-abortion movement has been trying to pass pre-viability abortion bans, like the Ohio bill, hoping that efforts to overturn them would lead to a challenge of Roe v. Wade that would end with the 45-year-old decision’s reversal in the Supreme Court.

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News Analysis: ‘America First’ Bears a New Threat: Military Force

Over the longer term, they must straighten out the strategic incoherence surrounding Mr. Trump’s approach to Russia and China, defining the meaning of the administration’s policy declaration earlier this year that “great power competition — not terrorism — is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.”

Washington is now consumed by a debate over whether Mr. Trump’s new team plans to govern as far to the right as it talks.

So far, the incoming national security adviser, John R. Bolton, has declared that his past comments are “behind me.” Hours after his selection was announced, Mr. Bolton vowed that he would find ways to execute the policies that Mr. Trump was elected on, but that he would not tolerate slow-walking and leaks from bureaucrats he dismissed as “munchkins.”

Some who know Mr. Bolton and his operating style predict titanic clashes.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the retired general who has argued for keeping the Iran deal intact and warned that military confrontation with North Korea would result in “the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes,” told colleagues on Friday that he did not know if he could work with Mr. Bolton. The White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, another retired four-star general, was also unenthusiastic about Mr. Bolton’s hiring.


President Trump with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Vice President Mike Pence and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Friday.

Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

Mr. Bolton’s harshest critics — mostly Democrats, but their ranks include some members of the Bush administration — argue that the odds of taking military action will rise dramatically when he becomes the last person a volatile American president consults.

“John Bolton is not some gray bureaucrat whose views are unknown to us,” said Michael McFaul, the American ambassador to Moscow under President Barack Obama, and now a Stanford professor and the director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

“He’s very clear that there should be regime change in Iran and North Korea, and military force should be used to achieve those goals,” Mr. McFaul said. “If you hire him, you’re making a clear signal that’s what you want.”

But others who have worked for years with Mr. Bolton argue that Mr. Trump knows exactly what he is getting: leverage, not conflict.

“I think this notion everybody talks about, that the risks of war have gone up, is wrong,” said Stephen J. Hadley, who was Mr. Bush’s national security adviser and a major architect of the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. “This is the peace-through-strength crowd who want to make clear to people that they’re tough and that no one should cross them. But the reason for that is to deter war.”

Dov Zakheim, a former senior Defense Department official who has known Mr. Bolton for 35 years, wrote on Friday that Mr. Bolton “may be a fire breather, but he is a man who cares deeply about his country,” in comparison to his boss, who “cares deeply about Donald Trump.”

Whatever Mr. Trump’s motives, his selection of this team would have been hard to imagine when he first came to office declaring that the continued American presence in Iraq was a “disaster,” that he was comfortable with Japan and South Korea getting their own nuclear weapons so the United States would not have to defend them, and that America would no longer be the world’s policeman.

Mr. Bolton has come to the opposite conclusion.

He not only fervently advocated the attack on Saddam Hussein from his post at the State Department during the Bush administration, but he also defended its aftermath, and has said he remains convinced it was the right decision. Over the past three years, Mr. Bolton has advocated bombing Iran, attacking North Korea, and carving a new state out of Iraq and Syria.

Mike Pompeo, the nominee for secretary of state, said at the Aspen Security Conference in July that the most dangerous thing about North Korea was the fact that its young, moody and reportedly ruthless leader, Kim Jong-un, controls its weapons.

“So from the administration’s perspective, the most important thing we can do is separate those two. Right?” said Mr. Pompeo, who at the time was months into his current job as C.I.A. director. “Separate capacity and someone who might well have intent, and break those two apart.”

Assuming that Mr. Pompeo is confirmed, he and Mr. Bolton, the two most forceful, aggressive new members of the policy team, will have to decide in what order they can risk those confrontations. The Trump administration has said it is open to direct talks with Mr. Kim by May — the same month by which the president has said he will scrap the Iran nuclear accord.

“Even if you are going to be a superhawk, you can’t do all these at once,” said Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a former C.I.A. station chief in Moscow who later hunted down Pakistani nuclear technology as the Energy Department’s chief intelligence officer. “And if you want to go to war with Iran and North Korea, you have to expect to alienate your allies and run headlong into the Russians.”

William J. Burns, a longtime American diplomat who was Mr. Bush’s ambassador to Russia and Mr. Obama’s deputy secretary of state, predicted that if the new team exits the Iran deal and confronts North Korea, the first beneficiary is likely to be President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

“He looks for splits,” Mr. Burns said of Mr. Putin. “He knows he will benefit if we walk away from the Iran deal, because it will put a wedge between us and our European allies.”

On North Korea, Mr. Burns said, Mr. Putin is seeking “splits between the U.S. and China. We are doing his work for him.”

In fact, it is in dealing with Mr. Putin that the new team is likely to run headlong into Mr. Trump’s reluctance to ever say a critical word about the Russian president. As C.I.A. chief, Mr. Pompeo has embraced the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the election, though he changes the subject quickly when asked about it.

Mr. Bolton, by contrast, has ranked among Mr. Putin’s harshest critics. Last July, days after Mr. Trump met Mr. Putin for the first time at a summit meeting in Germany, Mr. Bolton wrote that the Russian interference in the 2016 election was “a casus belli, a true act of war, and one Washington will never tolerate.”

Mr. Trump did not view it that way.

He emerged from the meeting in Germany repeating Mr. Putin’s observation that the Russians were too skilled at cyberoperations to be caught if involved. Last week, Mr. Trump called Mr. Putin to congratulate him on winning a Russian election widely viewed as a sham, making no mention of the recent nerve-agent attack that Britain concluded, with American agreement, was a covert action by Moscow.

If it was, it was being planned out as Mr. Pompeo was acting as the host to the directors of the three major Russian intelligence services in Washington earlier this month.

The unknown factor in the new mix is Gina Haspel, the career intelligence officer who has been nominated to be the first woman to run the C.I.A. Since she has spent much of her career undercover — details of which the agency is just beginning to release, in an effort to lobby for her confirmation — her foreign policy views are largely unknown.


Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director, who has been nominated as secretary of state, is a harsh critic of the nuclear accord with Iran.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

But her record in the terrorist detentions and interrogations following 9/11 is well documented. Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who was tortured as a prisoner of war, this past week pointedly asked in a letter to Ms. Haspel, “Do you believe actions like these were justified, and do you believe they produced actionable intelligence?”

At a moment when Mr. Trump has sided with the economic nationalists in his administration and ordered the imposition of tariffs on China to counter its restrictions on American companies and the forced transfer of American intellectual property, Mr. Bolton has gone one further.

He has questioned whether the United States should abandon the “One China” policy that has been the underpinning of relations since the two countries resumed diplomatic relations.

In 2016, Mr. Bolton wrote that confronting China “may involve modifying or even jettisoning the ambiguous ‘One China’ mantra, along with even more far-reaching initiatives to counter Beijing’s rapidly accelerating political and military aggressiveness in the South and East China Seas.”

It is unclear how that squares with Mr. Trump’s campaign argument that the United States should pull its forces back from Asia unless South Korea and Japan pay more of the cost of keeping them there.

But the most immediate decision facing the new team will be the benefits and costs of exiting the Iran deal. Mr. Trump cited his differences with Rex W. Tillerson on Iran in firing the secretary of state.

Mr. Bolton and Mr. Pompeo have been among the harshest critics of the nuclear accord, but they have not said how they would manage the international backlash if Mr. Trump decides, by a May 12 legislative deadline, to resume the sanctions that the United States suspended when the deal was reached.

If Washington breaches the deal, Iran may declare it is now free to resume producing nuclear fuel in unlimited quantities — limits it agreed to, for 15 years, in return for economic normalization. If so, that could put the United States and Israel back where they were in the years before the accord was reached: threatening military action to destroy Iran’s facilities, even at the risk of another Middle East war. That was the path Mr. Bolton advocated.

In August, when Mr. Tillerson and Mr. Mattis wrote a joint op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal describing the merits of building economic pressure on North Korea in a policy of “strategic accountability,” Mr. Bolton said he was “appalled.”

“Time is not a neutral factor here,” he said on Fox News, where he was a contributor. “More negotiation with North Korea? I think they’d say ‘bring it on.’ More time to increase the size and scope of their ballistic missile and nuclear capabilities.” He will now be preparing Mr. Trump for that negotiation.

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How the Left and the Right Reacted to John Bolton as National Security Adviser


John R. Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, was considered a hawk among hawks in President George W. Bush’s administration.

Joshua Roberts/Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Trump announced on Thursday the swift substitution of his national security adviser: Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the battle-tested, three-star Army general, is resigning and will be replaced by John R. Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations.

Mr. Bolton, who was considered a hawk among hawks in President George W. Bush’s administration, had a history of incendiary comments that primed him to be a commentator on Fox News. There, he impressed Mr. Trump with his muscular version of American power.

News that Mr. Bolton would become Mr. Trump’s third national security adviser — after General McMaster and Michael T. Flynn — was met with immediate acclaim and criticism.

Here’s a look at how political figures and lawmakers on the right and the left reacted.

The Right

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina

“Selecting John Bolton as national security adviser is good news for America’s allies and bad news for America’s enemies. I have known John Bolton for well over a decade and believe he will do an outstanding job as President Trump’s new national security adviser. He has a firm understanding of the threats we face from North Korea, Iran and radical Islam.”

Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida

Representative Lee Zeldin of New York

“Ambassador John Bolton is ridiculously knowledgeable and will be a great national security adviser. The leaks coming out of the National Security Council will end, Obama administration holdovers will be gone, and the team, chemistry and work product will all be improved. Ambassador Bolton is a very underrated, amazing American, and I applaud this extraordinarily talented pick. I look forward to working closely with Ambassador Bolton on the many national security concerns facing our exceptional country.”

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas

The Left

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader

“Mr. Bolton’s tendency to try to solve every geopolitical problem with the American military first is a troubling one. I hope he will temper his instinct to commit the men and women of our armed forces to conflicts around the globe, when we need to be focused on building the middle class here at home.”

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the ranking member on House Intelligence Committee

Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii

Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts

Senator Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut

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