Bolton Planning No Big Staff Changes at NSC, Officials SayBy
Incoming White House National Security Adviser John Bolton isn’t expected to initiate a major staff shakeup upon when he begins his job on Monday, according to administration officials familiar with his plans.
Bolton met with some National Security Council staff on Thursday and will return Friday, as he and President Donald Trump’s outgoing adviser H.R. McMaster plot a smooth transition. A former United Nations ambassador under President George W. Bush, Bolton is known for championing the invasion of Iraq in 2003, as well as his advocacy of military strikes to halt nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran.
His views, compared to the more dovish McMaster, have prompted speculation about which advisers Bolton may seek to replace.
One high-level staffer, deputy executive secretary Megan Badasch, will leave the NSC at the end of this week. She was part of Trump’s transition team in 2016, but her departure was planned before Bolton’s hiring. In 2011, during the Arab Spring, she went to Tunisia as an election trainer for the International Republican Institute, a democracy development organization.
“Megan Badasch made the whole operation work from foreign trips to meetings to everything involved in the complex, yet vital national security process,” NSC spokesman Michael Anton said. “She’s an asset to the president and to the National Security Council staff.”
Badasch declined to comment.
In visits to the White House this week, coordinated with McMaster, Bolton has been briefed on the team he’ll inherit, according to one official familiar with the discussions.