John Bolton Cory Gardner

Former national security adviser John Bolton and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican. On Sept. 13, 2019, Bolton's PAC endorsed Gardner's 2020 bid for a second term.

Just days after departing his position as President Donald Trump's national security advisor, John Bolton has restarted his political action committees and on Friday announced he is endorsing U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and four other Republican candidates.

The foreign-policy hardliner said in a release he is returning to head the John Bolton PAC and the John Bolton Super PAC, two organizations he ran before going to work at the White House in early 2018.

In addition to Gardner, Bolton said he is endorsing U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and U.S. Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Lee Zeldin of New York. He said his PAC will donate $10,000 to each of the candidates.

"The John Bolton PAC and John Bolton Super PAC seek a strong, clear, and dependable U.S. national security policy, resting on constancy and resolve," Bolton said in a statement.

"The experience that these incumbent members of Congress have provides them with a remarkable understanding and knowledge of the threats we face from international terrorism and rogue regimes such as Iran and North Korea."

The Bolton PAC contributed $310,000 to Republican candidates for federal office in the last election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and has spent more than $8 million since 2014 promoting Bolton's hawkish foreign policy approach.

Bolton's Super PAC has spent more than $13 million since 2014, including about $2 million in independent expenditures supporting Republican Senate candidates. 

Trump announced Tuesday in a tweet that he was firing Bolton amid disagreements over a host of global hotspots, including Afghanistan, Iran, Venezuela and North Korea. Bolton later contradicted Trump, insisting that he had offered to resign the night before.

A spokesman for the Gardner campaign declined to comment on Bolton's endorsement but noted that Bolton's PAC contributed to Gardner's campaign when the Republican first won election to the Senate.

The Bolton PAC donated $5,000 to Gardner in 2014 gave the same amount that year to another Colorado Republican, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman.

Other contributions to Colorado candidates by the PAC include $10,000 to Coffman in 2016 and again in 2018, and $10,000 to U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn in 2016. The PAC also gave $5,000 to U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in 2016.

A spokeswoman for the Colorado Democratic Party didn't have anything to say about Bolton but in a statement pointed to a recent opinion article critical of Gardner by Lawrence Korb, a former Reagan administration official who is currently a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress.

"Like President Reagan’s former assistant secretary of defense said this week, Sen. Gardner jumps through hoops to avoid disagreeing with the Trump administration's reckless and destabilizing foreign policy," said Alyssa Roberts.

Gardner, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and chair of the subcommittee on East Asia, has been a persistent advocate for a policy of "maximum pressure" against North Korea as the United States attempts to defuse tensions over the country's nuclear weapons. 

Dan Baer, a Democrat and former ambassador who was running against Gardner until Thursday, when he withdrew from the Senate primary, had some harsh words for Bolton and Gardner in a statement to Colorado Politics.

"I guess it goes to show that Gardner will take money from anyone — whether it’s the NRA that makes us less safe at home or a disgraced warmonger who ran a dysfunctional National Security Council and made us less safe in the world," said Baer, a former U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in the Obama administration.

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