Former United Nations ambassador John Bolton will announce on Thursday whether he is running for president.
Bolton has been mulling a White House bid for the past several months. He will announce his decision online, and has invited reporters to participate in a conference call afterwards.
Over the past several months, Bolton has made appearances at many of the cattle calls in the early campaign states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, though he’s hardly been crisscrossing them tirelessly like some of his potential competitors.
Bolton first dipped his toe into the political waters during the 2014 election season, when he established both a political-action committee and a super PAC devoted to electing hawkish candidates. Bolton left the Bush administration in 2006 and many of the years since then could rightly be called his wilderness years. The hawkish views he champions went out of favor. Non-interventionism, embodied by Rand Paul, took hold even in the GOP. Bolton founded his political-action committees as a reaction to the rise of these impulses, as a means of stamping them out inside the Republican party. He had some success, but it is current events that have shifted public opinion in his favor.
The rise of ISIS and the chaos in the broader Middle East seems to have put the GOP’s non-interventionists on a defensive footing, and marked the end of Bolton’s wilderness years once and for all. Even his team admits that. “It’s become clear that voters understand the most important challenge facing our next president is keeping America safe, and national security is now a top issue in most polls,” a Bolton spokesman said in a statement.
If he does decide to jump into the race, he’ll be a long-shot candidate, filling a crowded space — that of super hawk — likely to be occupied both by Florida senator Marco Rubio, who launched his campaign last month, and by South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, who is likely to announce his presidential bid next month.
But down the road, Bolton’s endorsement, and the money from his super PAC, will certainly be a boost to somebody in the race, either to him or to another Republican candidate.