John Bolton (Gage Skidmore/Flikr)
Curt Mills explains who Fred Fleitz is and why it matters that he has been hired as John Bolton’s chief of staff on the National Security Council:
But Fleitz’s hiring signals three developments clearly: Bolton’s propensity to tap hardline loyalists; Bolton’s readiness to associate with Iran and North Korean regime change advocates; and Bolton’s assiduous staffing of Russia investigation critics.
Fleitz has been working for Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, which is known for both its wacky conspiracy theories about Islamist infiltration and its hard-line foreign policy views. Like Bolton, he was a vehement opponent of the nuclear deal, and absurdly claimed in 2014 that Obama was “conceding” an Iranian nuclear weapon by negotiating the agreement. Bolton’s hiring of Fleitz is a reunion for the two, as Fleitz served as Bolton’s chief of staff when the latter worked in Bush’s State Department. It was there that he earned the reputation of being Bolton’s “enforcer,” and presumably that is the role he is going to reprise on the NSC.
Fleitz’s position confirms that Bolton continues to remake the National Security Council in his image, and it shows once again the extent to which hard-line fringe figures have gained extraordinary influence in the Trump White House.