While progressives celebrated the departure of John Bolton as President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, that joy is likely to be shortlived due to the character of Bolton’s acting replacement, Charles M. Kupperman.
Kupperman has been a member of the boards of a number of defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin and Boeing. He served in the Ronald Reagan administration and boasts a decades-long relationship with Bolton.
Bolton referred to the two men’s longstanding ties in a statement in January when Kupperman was first appointed his deputy.
“Charlie Kupperman has been an advisor to me for more than thirty years, including during my tenure as National Security Advisor to President Trump,” Bolton said at the time. “Charlie’s extensive expertise in defense, arms control and aerospace will help further President Trump’s national security agenda.”
Critics say that Kupperman is a right-wing extremist, pointing to his connections to infamous Islamophobe Frank Gaffney through the latter’s Center for Security Policy (CSP), where Kupperman served on the board from 2001-2010. CSP is a major booster of a conspiracy theory alleging the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the U.S. government.
In a statement, Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) executive director Nihad Awad said that while Bolton’s departure was a welcome development, “we cannot simply replace one Islamophobe with another.”
“CSP has continuously promoted Islamophobic conspiracy theories, and anyone, like Mr. Kupperman, who has so closely associated with them for so long is —at the very least—complicit in their brand of anti-Muslim bigotry,” said Awad, “and should not be entrusted with one of the highest ranking security roles in the United States.”
Writer Jeffrey Kaye was more bunt in his assessment of Kupperman, tweeting that Kupperman is “a Reaganite neanderthal Islamophobe, a creature of the defense industry, and a very close associate of Bolton himself.”
“In Washington, D.C. today,” said Kaye, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”