Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said the nomination of Samantha Power to serve in his former position is an act of defiance to Republicans and a sign that Obama could be moving further to the left now that he doesn’t have to face the voters again.
Bolton further argued the appointment of outgoing Ambassador Susan Rice to be national security adviser is not as big of a deal. He told WND that should not be interpreted as a slap in the face because the move does not require Senate confirmation, and if Obama really wanted a fight he would have nominated Rice to be secretary of state.
When it comes to the U.N. post, Bolton said Senate Republicans should be willing to grill Power over what he considers an extreme record.
“I think her view is very radical in a whole range of issues. Some of her public comments she’s tried to back away from, but speaking as someone who wrote a lot and spoke a lot before my nomination, I remember how Democratic staffers and their senator bosses pored over articles and speeches that I’ve read, looking for one thing or another that they wanted to try and highlight,” said Bolton, who was filibustered by Democrats despite having support from a majority of senators. He was later elevated to ambassador through a recess appointment.
“If Republicans are inclined to do it, there be even more material in Samantha Power’s background than there was in mine. I think the direction of her views on multilateral diplomacy and the role of the United States, I might say the reduced role of the United States, in the world and the increased role of the United Nations. If senators want to inquire at length about it, they will certainly have an opportunity,” said Bolton.
Power will almost certainly face stiff questions controversial statement she made about using U.S. forces to protect Palestinians from Israel.
“She talked about preventing human rights abuses by Israel against the Palestinians, not protecting Israel from terrorist suicide bombers from Hamas and other terrorist groups but protecting the Palestinians from the Israelis,” Bolton said. “There was blowback over that comment and she retracted it. It’s one of these things when you make the mistake in Washington of being candid and people being candid and people actually hear what you think. Then when you say, ‘Oh, I was misquoted or I was misconstrued or I didn’t state it as well as I should have,’ it’s probably what you said first that you really believe and not the retraction.”
Bolton said the Power nomination will also move the administration further to the left on international issues, a direction Obama likely wanted to move from the start of his administration.
“If anything, she’s to the left of where the administration has been, and I think she will try to move it further to the left,” Bolton said. “That’s the act of defiance to Republicans in the second term, to say, ‘I don’t have to face the voters anymore. I’m going to try and move in the direction ideologically I would have liked to move in before 2012 but wouldn’t or couldn’t do for fear of the political consequences. Since I never have to face the voters again, now I’m going to tell you what I really think.”
As for Rice, Bolton said Obama has the right to name whoever he wants as his national security adviser, but he believes it’s a consolation prize after the Benghazi controversy forced the president to abandon his plan to make Rice Secretary of State. He said it’s unclear whether Rice was used in the Benghazi explanation or knowingly pushed the YouTube narrative. Either way, Bolton said Rice’s political ambition came back to bite her.
“Susan Rice was eager to volunteer to help advance her campaign for secretary of state. The White House thought that Rice would be an excellent person because she didn’t know anything about Benghazi. She couldn’t possibly make a mistake or reveal something they didn’t want to reveal because the only thing she knew was what was in the talking points they gave to her,” Bolton said. “Like all solutions that are too cute by half, it ends up hurting everyone involved.”
But just because Rice didn’t get her preferred job, Bolton warned she will have immense influence because of her close relationship with Obama and because of how the administration conducts foreign policy.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the second Obama term will be like the first Obama term in that all key foreign and defense policy issues are going to be decided at the White House, not the Defense Department, not the State Department,” he said.