Tom Bossert, Trump's homeland security adviser, fired as Bolton takes power, source says

National Security Adviser John Bolton — whose first day on the job was Monday — is consolidating power and Bossert's removal is the first of those steps.
by Vivian Salama, Ken Dilanian and Dartunorro Clark /  / Updated 

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President Donald Trump's homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, was fired Tuesday as the president's new national security adviser, John Bolton, consolidates power in the White House.

On Monday night, Bossert was socializing with current and former U.S. Intelligence officials at a conference in Sea Island, Georgia, and a source close to him told NBC News that the adviser was unaware of any intention at the White House to seek his resignation, and that he had no plans to quit.

"New team," the source said, without further explanation.

Bossert was called in to Bolton's office early Tuesday morning and told that he was being fired, according to a source with direct knowledge.

Bossert has been on the outs for a while — his relationship with Chief of Staff John Kelly was never strong, and Bolton — whose first official day on the job was Monday — has decided to consolidate power under him. Bossert's removal is the first of those steps.

"The president is grateful for Tom's commitment to the safety and security of our great country," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. "Tom led the White House's efforts to protect the homeland from terrorist threats, strengthen our cyber defenses, and respond to an unprecedented series of natural disasters. President Trump thanks him for his patriotic service and wishes him well."

Sanders' statement did not give a reason for his departure.

Bossert, who previously served in George W. Bush's administration as deputy homeland security adviser, was tapped to become assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism in December 2016. At the time, Trump touted Bossert as an "invaluable asset" to his team.

He also previously held positions with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the Independent Counsel and in the House of Representatives, according to The Washington Post.

Bossert was the face of the Trump administration's response to the crisis in Syria as recently as Sunday, when he appeared on ABC's "This Week." He said that no potential retaliatory measure should be taken "off the table" following a suspected chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma that killed dozens, including many children.

"I wouldn't take anything off the table. These are horrible photos. We're looking into the attack at this point," Bossert said Sunday, while also reiterating Trump's desire to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria in the near future.

"The pendulum has swung in the wrong direction for too long and the United States of America has been taken advantage of in their responsibility to provide security for the entire world," Bossert said. "It is time to move that pendulum back in a way that brings regional partners and others with equities in these matters all around the globe into putting their resources and their treasure and their boys and girls on the line, and not just American troops."

Bossert also served as the administration's point man on hurricane recovery efforts in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico last year.

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