Sen. Tammy Duckworth on Bolton ouster: Trump, aides, ‘can’t seem to get their act together’

Duckworth on the aborted meeting with the Taliban: ‘What was he doing inviting the Taliban to Camp David in the first place?’

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U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth. File Photo.

Rich Hein/Sun-Times

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s ouster on Tuesday of now former national security adviser John Bolton is not good for the morale of U.S. troops and shows the commander-in-chief and his top aides “can’t seem to get their act together,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.

Minutes after Trump announced on Twitter that he told Bolton on Monday night “that his services are no longer needed at the White House,” MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviewed Duckworth, a member of the Armed Services Committee and a wounded Iraq war vet.

“As a member of Armed Services, how does this make people …on the front lines feel when they see such disarray in Washington?” Mitchell asked.

“Well, they’re going to feel stranded, Andrea. They are there doing their job,” Duckworth replied.

“We’ve asked them to step up to leave their families behind, to go into harm’s way and defend America. And yet the very top leadership from the commander-in-chief to his closest advisers can’t seem to get their act together and can’t seem to come up with a cohesive approach to what we’re doing in the Middle East, whether it’s Iraq or Afghanistan or Syria. This is a real problem you know our troops are in harm’s way right now and we expect them to get up and do their jobs and yet we don’t have a president or a national security adviser who is willing to do their jobs.”

Bolton is not letting Trump set the narrative. Twelve minutes after Trump’s tweet, Bolton said, “I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, “Let’s talk about it tomorrow.”

Duckworth was originally booked to discuss Trump’s invitation to Taliban leaders to Camp David to discuss a potential Afghanistan peace deal, a move opposed by Bolton. The meeting at the prestigious location would have come in the days before the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.

Trump disclosed that secret meeting between Afghanistan’s elected leader and Taliban representatives in a tweet Saturday night — but only because he was calling it off.

“What was he doing inviting the Taliban to Camp David in the first place?” Duckworth asked.

“What was he thinking, on the same week as the anniversary of 9-11? I mean, that is an insult, and it’s not just to the men and women who served overseas but to our first responders, to all of the Americans who died on 9-11.

“Frankly, it’s shocking that he would even do it in the first place. I support negotiating with the Taliban. But we need to do it as part of a coalition force to figure out a way to be able to get troops out of Afghanistan. But to bring the Taliban to Camp David, the ultimate diplomatic meeting place, a place of honor ... that is shameful.”

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