NBC to Condi Rice: Would you consider replacing John Bolton?


Why not? Having George W. Bush’s nat-sec adviser in Donald Trump’s White House couldn’t be any stranger than hiring John Bolton in the position, and might at least add a little more nuance. Trump himself raised a few eyebrows last night by praising Condoleezza Rice’s “very interesting and secure perspective” in a Fox News interview with Martha MacCallum:

If Trump was willing to bring back Bolton, why not Rice? Savannah Guthrie wondered the same thing, but the former Secretary of State laughed it off … mostly (via Cortney O’Brien):

Been there, done that is Rice’s answer, but that was also true of Bolton at one time as well. Who knows? Trump needs to find someone who meshes well with his current nat-sec team; Rice certainly can work with Mike Pompeo, Mark Esper, and the rest of the current team. She knows the issues and the players, and has a clear-eyed view of Russia, Iran, and the Taliban.

Which, unfortunately, might be the problem:

Rice would no doubt make an excellent nat-sec adviser, as she did in the past with Bush. That’s not the issue, as Rice herself says. She wouldn’t fit in with Trump’s priorities, although she would likely know how to work around the temperamental issues involved in being on Trump’s team. She sees the world as Bolton sees it, perhaps couched in more careful discourse. Trump would be replacing Bolton with someone who would eventually present the same pushback on Trump’s vision as Bolton did, probably sooner rather than later.

Still, Rice has one quality that Trump treasures — star power. Rice also has enduring credibility on a range of issues, another quality Trump might need with his constant reshuffling. Rice hasn’t been in office for over a decade and has famously eschewed electoral politics all along, but still commands credibility on the national stage. Trump could use that quality after the departures of Bolton, James Mattis, and John Kelly. Trump’s tweet last night might mean she’s further up the list than Rice imagines.

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