WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump, facing the possibility of military confrontations with both Iran and Venezuela, said on Thursday that he sometimes serves as a counterbalance to his hard-charging national security adviser, John Bolton.
Bolton has been a key player in current U.S. standoffs with Iran and Venezuela, both instances in which the United States has not ruled out the use of force to protect American interests. A statement announcing a U.S. naval force to the Gulf region was issued under Bolton’s name.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Trump has privately complained that Bolton is pushing an interventionist stance at odds with his view that the United States should stay out of foreign quagmires.
Some Trump advisers have told Reuters in the past that they were concerned Bolton was sometimes pushing his own agenda rather than what the president would prefer.
The president was asked about Bolton at an impromptu news conference in the White House Roosevelt Room on Thursday.
“John’s very good. He has strong views on things which is OK. I’m the one who tempers him, which is OK. I have John Bolton and I have people who are a little more dovish than him,” said Trump.
Bolton is Trump’s third national security adviser, after Michael Flynn and H.R. McMaster, and has been in the position for a little more than a year.
The United States has said all options are on the table for dealing with both Venezuela and Iran. Washington wants Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to leave power, and is concerned about Iran’s nuclear program and regional influence.
Reporting By Steve Holland; editing by Jonathan Oatis