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John Bolton says he may run against Trump for president

Former Ambassador John R. Bolton speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)
December 06, 2022

John Bolton, who served former President Donald Trump as national security advisor, is considering running against his one-time boss in the 2024 presidential race. He says he’s motivated by Trump’s “disqualifying” call to “terminate” the Constitution and reinstate him as president.  

Bolton is a longtime diplomat noted for hawkish calls for regime change in countries hostile to the U.S. He was Trump’s national security advisor for about a year and a half before being fired over disagreements, and later wrote a best-selling tell-all memoir about his time in that role.

Trump, who launched his third campaign for president last month, recently seized on revelations in the so-called “Twitter Files” to up the ante on his long-running push to overturn the 2020 election. He said “massive fraud” allowed for “termination of all rules … even those found in the Constitution.”

Motivated by Republicans’ muffled response to what he described as a “time-bomb,” Bolton has teased a campaign announcement on TV twice in recent days: Monday on NBC News and Tuesday on CNN.

“It’s just unacceptable for a party in a constitutional system to accept … somebody who opposes the Constitution that underlies it, and I think if we don’t speak up and make that clear now, we’re going to regret it,” he said on CNN. “That’s why I’ve said I would contemplate getting into the 2024 race myself if others dont step up to it. This is a matter of high principle, but it’s also self-interest for the party, and it stuns me that so many people don’t see that.”

Bolton said on NBC that he would “seriously consider getting in” unless he saw strong statements from potential Republican candidates disavowing Trump’s remarks, which he called “un-American” and an “existential” issue for the U.S.

Asked on NBC about his timeline for making a decision, Bolton said: “I think it’s going to have to be pretty short. We’ve already got one declared candidate for president in the Republican Party who doesn’t believe in the Constitution. This is serious business.”