Former UN ambassador John Bolton won’t run for president
WASHINGTON (AP) — John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and one of the Republican Party’s most prominent national security hawks, has decided not to run for president.
Bolton bowed out of the 2016 contest on Thursday, saying in a video obtained by The Associated Press that he would prefer to influence the election from the sidelines.
“I have decided not to seek the Republican nomination for president,” Bolton says in the video, which was to be made public later Thursday. “I believe I can make the strongest contribution to our future by continuing as a clear and consistent advocate for a strong, Reaganite foreign policy that values peace through strength.”
Bolton, a leading foreign policy voice in the George W. Bush White House, spent recent months testing his message in early-voting states. In calling for a muscular foreign policy, he often lashed out at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as Republican rivals — Sen. Rand Paul in particular — who favor a reduced U.S. footprint in the world.
Bolton’s decision not to run is somewhat surprising in an election season in which more than a dozen ambitious Republicans may seek the party’s nomination. Declared candidates include Paul, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, former technology executive Carly Fiorina and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
A slew of current and former governors, including Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, are expected to announce their plans in the coming weeks.
Bolton would have been an underdog, yet a presidential bid offered a prominent stage to promote his views.
Bolton says in the video he will continue “to focus on the 2016 Republican presidential race to make certain that foreign policy is critical to winning the nomination.”
“Nor will I stand idle while our president surrenders our national interests and liberals rally around his ideological twin: Hillary Clinton,” he says.
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