In the wake of John Bolton's abrupt ouster by President Donald Trump, the White House is now exploring the prospect of giving Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a second job as national security advisor to the president.
According to reporting by CNN's national security reporter, Kylie Atwood, the Trump administration is considering the unorthodox option of double-hatting a current cabinet official instead of naming a new replacement for Bolton.
"What's unclear right now is how seriously President Trump is considering this possibility," Atwood told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "He told reporters at the White House today that there were five people who wanted this job as national security advisor, and they were good and qualified people. So we don't know where he is right now, but this is something that is being discussed at the White House."
Atwood also pointed out that, while certainly not common, having one person fill both demanding positions as the nation's chief diplomat and the president's top national security aide is not unprecedented. "This has happened before," she explained, "but it was back in the 1970s when President [Richard] Nixon was in office and Henry Kissinger was both secretary of state and national security advisor for two years."
Cooper noted that Pompeo enjoys a very good relationship with Trump and asked what factors are driving the White House to consider this option.
"Is this more about Secretary Pompeo consolidating power within the president's inner circle, or would it be more about President Trump's views of both jobs, especially given how he says he makes decisions?" Cooper said.
"We know that President Trump listens to himself. He does rely on his -- the members of his cabinet, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo being one of those voices that is an integral player when it comes to the decisions that Trump makes," Atwood replied. But ultimately it is the president who makes these decisions, and he doesn't necessarily feel the need, our reporting shows, to have a new person added to that team. He's considering it, but there are other options on the table. And he wants someone who's close to him and who sees things through his lens. That obviously was not the case with National Security Advisor John Bolton, and that's why he was let go."
If you're wondering where the president may have gotten the idea, it was raised on one of his favorite cable news shows Tuesday night: