US President Donald Trump abruptly sacks his national security chief amid disagreements with the hawkish aide over how to handle foreign policy challenges such as North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, and Russia.

National Security Advisor John Bolton, accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House.
National Security Advisor John Bolton, accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House. (AP)

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he fired national security advisor John Bolton, citing strong disagreements on a number of policy issues.

Trump tweeted that he told Bolton Monday night his services were no longer needed at the White House and said Bolton submitted his resignation on Tuesday morning. 

TRT World's Yasmine El Sabawi brings more from Washington.

Trump said that he "disagreed strongly" with many of Bolton's suggestions, "as did others in the administration."

Bolton responded in a tweet of his own that he offered to resign Monday "and President Trump said, 'Let's talk about it tomorrow.'"

Bolton's ouster came as a surprise to many in the White House. 

Just an hour before Trump's tweet, the press office announced that Bolton would join Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a briefing.

Bolton was always an unlikely pick to be Trump's third national security advisor, with a world view seemingly ill-fit to the president's isolationist "America First" pronouncements.

Life of a hawk

He's espoused hawkish foreign policy views dating back to the Reagan administration and became a household name over his vociferous support for the Iraq War as the US ambassador to the UN under George W Bush. 

Bolton even briefly considered running for president in 2016, in part to make the case against the isolationism that Trump would come to embody.

Inside the administration, he advocated caution on the president's whirlwind rapprochement with North Korea and against Trump's decision last year to pull US troops out of Syria. 

He masterminded a quiet campaign inside the administration and with allies abroad to convince Trump to keep US forces in Syria to counter the remnants of Daesh and Iranian influence in the region.

Bolton was named Trump's third national security advisor in April 2018 after the departure of Army General H R McMaster.

Disagreed 'many times' with ousted Bolton

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that he had multiple policy disagreements with Bolton, following his surprise ouster.

"Many times Ambassador Bolton and I disagreed, that's to be sure," Pompeo told a news conference at the White House.

"The president's entitled to the staff that he wants," Pompeo added, while stressing: "My mission is to make sure I run the Department of State to deliver America's diplomacy."

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said Charles Kupperman, the deputy national security adviser and a former Reagan administration official and defense contracting executive, would fill Bolton's role on an acting basis.

Source: AP