President-elect Donald Trump‘s meetings today in New York include one with John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and influential Republican foreign policy adviser who was a key lawyer for George W. Bush in Palm Beach County during the 2000 presidential recount.
Bolton criticized Trump at a Florida delegation breakfast during the Republican National Convention this year, saying Trump’s remarks about NATO were “an open invitation to Vladimir Putin” to be aggressive in Eastern Europe.
Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller wouldn’t comment today on whether Bolton is being considered for secretary of state or any other administration post.
In July, Bolton spoke to Florida convention delegates shortly after The New York Times published an interview in which Trump said that if Russia attacked the small Baltic states that recently joined NATO, Trump “would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing whether those nations ‘have fulfilled their obligations to us.’”
Said Bolton at the time: “When he (Putin) reads this kind of statement, it’s an encouragement to him. We’re not deterring him, we’re in effect giving him a free hand. So I hope that whoever advised Mr. Trump on this rethinks it.”
Bolton said Trump’s remark “doesn’t change my mind about Hillary Clinton and how disastrous she would be, doesn’t change my mind that I’m going to vote for Donald Trump in November, but honest to God, as a Republican Party for half a century or more, we have stood where Ronald Reagan has stood. We want peace but we want American strength to keep the peace.”
Bolton was lead attorney for the Bush campaign in Palm Beach County during the 2000 recount. Judge Charles Burton, head of the county canvassing board at the time, called Bolton “the conscientious objector” for his frequent, polite objections to disputed ballots that were counted as votes for Al Gore.
“I spent 31 wonderful days in Florida in November and December of 2000,” Bolton said in July. “I can still draw a floor plan of the Emergency Operations Center in West Palm.”