Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said Bolton, who he abruptly fired on Tuesday, had made some mistakes, including offending North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un by demanding that he follow a “Libyan model” and hand over all his nuclear weapons.
Trump said many people were interested in Bolton’s position.
“There are five people that I consider very highly qualified,” he said, without naming them. “We’ll be announcing somebody next week, but we have some very highly qualified people.”
He said he got along well with Bolton and hoped they parted on good terms, but added that the former adviser was out of line on Venezuela, which has been another of the administration’s top foreign policy challenges.
While the two were mostly in sync on the need to push Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from power, Trump had become increasingly impatient at the failure of a U.S.-led campaign of sanctions and diplomacy to remove the socialist leader. Trump declined to comment on whether he would meet with Maduro.
Among the names being floated as possible Bolton successors are Stephen Biegun, special U.S. envoy on North Korea; Richard Grenell, U.S. ambassador to Germany; U.S. hostage negotiator Robert O’Brien; and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan.
Trump was asked whether he would consider easing sanctions on Iran to secure a meeting with its leader President Hassan Rouhani at this month’s U.N. General Assembly and replied: “We’ll see what happens.”