John Bolton’s back on the job, first day as Trump’s national security advisor

New National Security Adviser John Bolton listens as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, April 9, 2018.

John Bolton, President Donald Trump‘s third national security advisor in just over a year, started his new job Monday and already he has his plate full of crises and global tensions to deal with. The most pressing is Syria, given the developments over the weekend.

Since Bolton accepted the job two weeks ago to replace H.R. McMaster, the Trump administration has ratcheted up its already extensive array of national security challenges, including a diplomatic row with Russia, a brewing trade war with China, ongoing negotiations to set up nuclear talks with North Korea, and the president’s order to send National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico.

Bolton will have a trial-by-fire, arriving amid renewed crisis in the Middle East following a suspected chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma that killed dozens, including many children. While the U.S. is still investigating the attack, the State Department said on Saturday that “the [Assad] regime’s history of using chemical weapons against its own people in not in dispute.”

Bolton attended his first cabinet meeting at the Trump White House on Monday, sitting directly behind the president as he condemned Saturday’s attack in Syria.

“It was an atrocious attack, it was horrible,” Trump said. “We are studying that situation extremely closely, we are meeting our military and everybody else and we’ll be making some major decisions in the next 24 to 48 hours.”

“If it’s Russia, if it’s Syria, if it’s Iran, if it’s all of them together, we’ll figure it out,” Trump added.

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