US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that John Bolton had been a "disaster" on North Korea policy, adding that he fired the national security adviser for not being "smart.”
Trump said Bolton had made mistakes, including offending North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un by demanding that he follow a "Libyan model" and hand over all his nuclear weapons.
Bolton had referred to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's full cooperation with the international community during the 2000s. But his comment was also widely seen as threatening Kim, given that in 2011 the Libyan leader was overthrown in a bloody NATO-backed revolution.
"That was not a good statement to make," Trump told reporters at the White House. "Just take a look at what happened with Gaddafi."
"We were set back very badly when John Bolton talked about the Libyan model," he said. "He’s using that to make a deal with North Korea?"
Trump said that Kim "wanted nothing to do with John Bolton" after that and "I don’t blame Kim."
"That’s not a question of being tough, that’s a question of being not smart."
Trump said he also differed with Bolton on the former UN ambassador's encouragement of the US invasion of Iraq.
But the relationship in the White House became unworkable because of personality clashes, the president said.
"He’s somebody that I actually had a very good relationship with, but he wasn’t getting along with people in the administration who I consider very important," he said.