In a stunningly frank moment during a Sunday Meet the Press interview focused on President Trump's decision-making on Iran, especially last week's "brink of war" moment which saw Trump draw down readied military forces in what he said was a "common sense" move, the commander in chief threw his own national security advisor under the bus in spectacular fashion.
Though it's not Trump's first tongue-in-cheek denigration of Bolton's notorious hawkishness, it's certainly the most brutal and blunt take down yet, and frankly just plain enjoyable to watch. When host Chuck Todd asked the president if he was “being pushed into military action against Iran” by his advisers in what was clearly a question focused on Bolton first and foremost, Trump responded:
“John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him he'd take on the whole world at one time, okay?”
WATCH: President Trump tells Chuck Todd that he has doves and hawks in his cabinet. #MTP #IfItsSunday— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) June 23, 2019
Trump: “I have some hawks. John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him he'd take on the whole world at one time.“ pic.twitter.com/JKVB2IvMVU
Trump began by explaining, “I have two groups of people. I have doves and I have hawks,” before leading into this sure to be classic line that is one for the history books: “If it was up to him he'd take on the whole world at one time, okay?”
During this section of comments focused on US policy in the Middle East, the president reiterated his preference that he hear from "both sides" on an issue, but that he was ultimately the one making the decisions.
When pressed on the dangers of having such an uber-hawk neo-conservative who remains an unapologetic cheerleader of the 2003 Iraq War, and who laid the ground work for it as a member of Bush's National Security Council, Trump followed with, “That doesn't matter because I want both sides.”
And in another clear indicator that Trump wants to stay true to his non-interventionist instincts voiced on the 2016 campaign trail, he explained to Todd that:
I was against going into Iraq... I was against going into the Middle East. Chuck we've spent 7 trillion dollars in the Middle East right now.
It was the second time this weekend that Trump was forced to defend his choice of Bolton as the nation's most influential foreign policy thinker and adviser. When peppered with questions at the White House Saturday following Thursday night's dramatic "almost war" with Iran, Trump said that he "disagrees" with Bolton "very much" but that ultimately he's "doing a very good job".
Bolton has never kept his career-long goal of seeing regime change in Tehran a secret - repeating his position publicly every chance he got, especially in the years prior to tenure at the Trump White House.
Tucker's epic "bureaucratic tapeworm" comment:
But Bolton hasn't had a good past week: not only had Trump on Thursday night shut the door on Bolton's dream of overseeing a major US military strike on Iran, but he's been pummeled in the media.
Even a Fox prime time show (who else but Tucker of course) colorfully described him as a "bureaucratic tapeworm" which periodically reemerges to cause pain and suffering.