In off-mic moment caught by TV cameras, Mattis just greeted Bolton on the Pentagon steps: "It's good to finally meet you, since I've heard that you're the devil incarnate." Bolton chuckled. pic.twitter.com/BuubOaVZk9— Vera Bergengruen (@VeraMBergen) March 29, 2018
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with President Trump's incoming national security adviser, John Bolton, and jokingly said he wanted to meet the 'devil incarnate'.
"I've heard that you're absolutely the devil incarnate and I wanted to meet you," Mattis jokingly said to Bolton at the Pentagon on Thursday.
Trump has shaken up his core national security team in the past two weeks, replacing National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and firing Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state.
The moves within a small group of just a handful of advisers have raised questions about whether Mattis could find himself increasingly isolated in his views and outmaneuvered by Bolton, an inveterate bureaucratic infighter whose 2007 memoir is titled: "Surrender Is Not An Option."
Bolton, a 69-year-old Fox News analyst and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in the past has called for regime change in North Korea and has previously been rejected as a negotiating partner by Pyongyang.
In 2003, on the eve of six-nation talks over Pyongyang's nuclear program, he lambasted then-North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in a speech in Seoul, calling him a "tyrannical dictator." North Korea responded by calling Bolton "human scum."
More recently, Bolton described Trump's plan to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as "diplomatic shock and awe" and said it would be an opportunity to deliver a threat of military action.
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