Only a day after National Security Advisor John Bolton left the Trump administration, officials have started looking into the possibility of replacing him with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who in such case would do both jobs, say sources.
Just one other person in U.S. history has performed both jobs at the same time. Henry Kissinger was already President Richard Nixon’s national security adviser when he was appointed secretary of state, working in that position for two years.
It is not clear whether President Donald Trump is seriously considering the idea, while Pompeo is reported to have given Trump a list of other names.
“I have five people that want it very much… Five people that I consider very highly qualified, good people,” President Trump said.
A source said, however, that for now, Pompeo will remain President Trump’s primary foreign policy adviser.
“He is going to act as a national security adviser at least in the near term. Trump is happy with that,” the person said, adding that considering the powerful position Pompeo already has, a dual one could be too dangerous for the President’s taste.
For the time being, sources inform, two people are generally considered to be top contenders to replace Bolton – Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran and senior policy adviser to Pompeo at the State Department and Steve Biegun, the special envoy to North Korea.
The two hold significantly more similar views to those of President Trump’s and are unlikely to challenge him on issues such as Iran. CNN writes that both Hook and Biegun will more probably support Trump’s desire for diplomatic deal-making.
The outlet adds that the new national security advisor is likely to be someone with great political savvy as the President is seeking to fulfill campaign promises and get re-elected in 2020.
Trump’s views are also likely to change, as evident in his relationship with Bolton. When he came to the post, Trump was seeking to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. Less than a year and a half later, the President is hinting at a possible meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations later this month.
“I hope we’ve left in good stead, but maybe we have and maybe we haven’t,” said Trump, referring to Bolton’s differences with other administration officials.