Trump: Bolton Was Holding Me Back on Venezuela, Cuba

Bolton not 'tougher than me,' president says

A day after mocking recently fired John Bolton as “Mr. Tough Guy” for his notoriously hawkish positions, President Trump on Thursday singled Bolton out for not being aggressive enough on Venezuela or Cuba, claiming he was “holding us back.”

“It set us back, and frankly he wanted to do things – not necessarily tougher than me,” Trump added in comments to reporters. Trump has also assured Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) that US policy changes toward Venezuela “won’t be to make it weaker.”

While assuring Rubio that he is “far stronger” than Bolton on the issue is sort of vague, it does point to Trump being a long-time advocate of regime change in Venezuela. Trump has in particular been keen to emphasize the idea of an ideological war against Cuba and Venezuela as Socialist states.

Bolton, by contrast, centered a lot of his hawkishness of picking fights with Iran and North Korea. Though Bolton argued the world needed to accept the US position on Venezuela, it does not seem he was driving that policy in any way.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of