White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert was pushed out of his position by the newly installed national security adviser John Bolton, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN on Tuesday.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed his departure in a statement, saying President Donald Trump “is grateful for Tom’s commitment to the safety and security of our great country.
“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,” Sanders said. “President Trump thanks him for his patriotic service and wishes him well.”
Two sources familiar with Bossert’s departure said while Bolton did not have a personal problem with Bossert, he wanted to put his own team in place. It is not unusual for a new national security adviser to replace officials with his own team, but Bolton has yet to announce any new hires to the National Security Council – instead pushing out at least two senior officials in recent days.
One of the sources could not explain the abrupt nature of Bossert’s departure, an alumnus of President George W. Bush’s administration who is well liked by most White House officials.
“This is incredibly jarring,” a person in the White House said.
There was no indication that Bossert planned to resign in recent days. On Sunday, Bossert was one of the administration’s prominent faces on news shows discussing the administration’s possible response to the alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack. News of his departure came just hours after he returned from a days-long national security conference.
Bossert’s most prominent role at the White House came after a series of devastating hurricanes hit several US states and Puerto Rico last fall, when Bossert served as the White House’s point person for the emergency response and rebuilding efforts.
He also headed the administration’s cybersecurity efforts, including its response to Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Bossert insisted as recently as Sunday that the US has been holding Russia accountable in “known and unknown ways” for the interference, citing in part the recent sanctions imposed on a list of Russian oligarchs.
Bossert also claimed on Sunday that “no voter in this country was influenced by those ads,” referring to the Russian social media campaign during the 2016 election – breaking from the US intelligence community’s assessment, which did not examine the effect of the Russian campaign on voters.
CNN’s Jenna McLaughlin and Dan Merica contributed to this report.