With Bolton gone, the Trump administration is now almost free of influence and advice from the old Republican Party. Neither the so-called neoconservative wing of the party, which had influence under George W. Bush, nor the Cold War Republicans, who held power before him and of whom Bolton is a late example, remain, with the exception of Attorney General William Barr. Also absent is anyone other than Barr with pre-Trump White House national-security experience. Instead, we have an ex-lobbyist, Mark Esper, at Defense, and Mike Pompeo at State. Pompeo spent 1986 to 1991 in the Army, but just 10 years ago was selling oil equipment at an obscure company in Wichita, Kansas.
Most Trump appointees have left quietly, and have begun murmuring their discontent only after a decorous interval. Bolton’s dismissal has come after an unusually long prelude of disrespect, both by Trump and by favored allies such as Carlson. And the tweet itself must sting. Obviously it was intended to. Bolton might not observe the same period of silence. In talking to his former associates, I heard many marvel at his energy. He wakes up before dawn to plot against his adversaries. He accepts every invitation to write op-eds and go on television to ridicule those who disagree with him. Trump has, in firing Bolton, made an enemy of a man incapable of rest and letting grudges go. Tomorrow morning he will wake up and start plotting, as he usually does. It’s 3 a.m. Do you know who your ex–national security adviser’s enemies are?