Bolton, Pompeo may be going Tillerson’s way over Iran

Trump’s three-month ultimatum to two controversial cabinet members

May 28, 2019

​​​​​​​ TEHRAN - Sources in the United States have revealed that President Donald Trump while expressing dissatisfaction over the U.S. foreign policy, has set a three-month deadline for the survival of John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.

Noornews, a news website close to the secretariat of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, has reported that the decline in Trump's popularity in opinion polls in critical states such as Pennsylvania and Florida coupled with an increase in domestic criticism of the White House over intensified rhetoric against Iran have led to an anger by Trump vis-a-vis his secretary of state and national security adviser. 

Setting this three-month deadline, which according to Trump may even be shorter, has led to intensification of Pompeo’s activities in Europe and elsewhere and his quest for indirect negotiation with Iran for an alternative nuclear agreement.

 When did the ultimatum begin?

The deadline was kicked off on May 16, just the day Trump in a Twitter message denied the existence of any differences between himself and his cabinet, saying the tensions were caused by media hallucinations such as the New York Times.

Such approach toward cabinet members comes with quite ample precedence. On December 10, 2012, he categorically denied that Rex Tillerson is resigning as secretary of state. At that time, Trump wrote in a Twitter message:

"The media has speculated, I've thrown Rex Tillerson out, or he'll leave soon (fake news)! Fake news! He does not go and we work well together, and the United States is once again heavily revered. "

However, three months later, Tillerson's official removal from power was announced, and Pompeo was tasked to handle the U.S. foreign policy.

This time, Trump is also aiming to manage the probable layoffs of his two cabinet members, using the same formula as Tillerson’s stage-by-stage layoff. In November 2017, Der Spiegel unveiled a special Trump method to remove Tillerson. Part of the content of the report read:

"Broadcasting the rumor of Tillerson's ousting in the media is part of Donald Trump and his team. Trump wants to spread the rumor to exert more pressure on his secretary of state and force him to step down.”

The Washington Post also said these rumors and strong denial by Trump would in effect mean Tillerson's end.

Trump's tight reaction to U.S. media coverage of the disagreement with his foreign policy team points to the secret interest of the president to keep this debate alive in media such as the Washington Post, the New York Times, and others.

It's worth noting that Bolton and Pompeo are aware of the seriousness of the announced deadline, given the tale of Tillerson’s past and his behavior at the White House in the final months of his tenure.

SP/PA
 

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