Which, of course they did! The firing of Bolton is simply the latest example of the totally and completely haphazard nature of Trump's presidency. There is no broader strategy. There is no blueprint. There is just Donald Trump, producing and starring in a reality show that starts over every single morning.
In the wake of the 2016 election, it became fashionable -- particularly among the President and his allies -- to argue that they knew he was going to win all along, that the President-elect was playing three-dimensional chess while the media and Democrats were still playing checkers. He won and you all said he was going to lose! But we knew better!
This isn't even up for debate anymore. If firing Bolton was anything other than a Trump impulse move, why would the White House include Bolton in a briefing with two other top administration officials today? Why would Bolton immediately come out and dispute Trump's version of how the firing came about? Why would no one else in the White House or the national security apparatus have an inkling that this move was coming?
Whether you love Trump or hate him, it's impossible to conclude anything other than Trump fired Bolton on a whim -- or in a pique of annoyance at Bolton's hawkish tendencies.
Take even a bigger step back and look at the three men who have served as Trump's national security adviser over the first three-ish years of his presidency: Michael Flynn, H.R. McMaster and Bolton. Flynn got the job because he had been an early and loud supporter of Trump's 2016 campaign. McMaster was brought in as a sop to the establishment within the party who felt as though things were going off the rails. Bolton was selected for, well, I don't exactly know.
Try to find the through-line in terms of national security and foreign policy between Flynn, McMaster and Bolton. Go on, I'll wait.
There isn't really one. And my strong suspicion is that whoever Trump picks as Bolton's successor won't have much in common with the previous national security advisers.
Because -- and say this with me -- there is no grand plan. There is no north star, no guiding light, no nothing. There is just Trump and his whims.
Which is a hell of a way to run the government.