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Trump Claims Bolton Was ‘Holding Me Back’ on Venezuela

Alex Wayne

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump claimed that John Bolton, the national security adviser he said he fired earlier in the week, was “holding me back” on Venezuela.

Trump didn’t elaborate in a tweet on Thursday. His administration has sought to collapse the government of Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro with expansive U.S. economic sanctions, a campaign Bolton eagerly promoted himself on Twitter.

The president has periodically refused to rule out military action against Maduro’s regime. His tweet came in response to one by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who said he had spoken with the president on Thursday. If Trump changes the direction of Venezuela policy in Bolton’s absence “it won’t be to make it weaker,” Rubio said.

Elliott Abrams, the U.S. special representative for Venezuela, insisted Wednesday that Bolton’s departure will have no impact on policy in Washington, where he said support for opposition leader Juan Guaido “is truly bipartisan.”

Trump made clear on Wednesday that he didn’t like all the advice he got from Bolton on Venezuela, saying, “I thought he was way out of line and I think I’ve been proven to be right.” Despite the U.S. pressure, Maduro remains in power with little sign his government is poised to fall.

On Tuesday, Trump said that he would “be naming a new national security adviser next week.”

Outside the White House on Thursday evening, he remarked that the job was an easy one: “You know why it’s easy? Because I make all of the decisions, you don’t have to work.”

(Updates with additional Trump remark in final paragraph. The spelling of Elliott Abrams’ name was corrected in a previous version.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Wayne in Washington at awayne3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at awayne3@bloomberg.net, Justin Blum, John Harney

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