Defense Secretary James Mattis cracked a joke in an off-mic moment at his first meeting with President Trump’s pick for national security advisor, former UN Ambassador John Bolton.
"Ambassador Bolton, so good to see you,” Mattis said. “Thanks for coming and it's good to finally meet you. I heard that you're actually the devil incarnate and I wanted to meet you."
Bolton laughed at the remark as he and Mattis entered the Pentagon.
In off-mic moment caught by TV cameras, Mattis just greeted Bolton on the Pentagon steps: "It's good to finally meet you, since I've heard that you're the devil incarnate." Bolton chuckled. pic.twitter.com/BuubOaVZk9— Vera Bergengruen (@VeraMBergen) March 29, 2018
Mattis responded to reports earlier this week that he would have difficulty working with Bolton due to their differing world views.
He told reporters he had "no reservations, no concerns at all,” about working with Bolton.
“Last time I checked he's an American,” he said. “I can work with an American, OK? So I'm not the least bit concerned with that sort of thing."
The two have large differences of opinion on the Iran deal and diplomacy in North Korea. Mattis has advised President Trump to stay in the Iran deal, but Bolton has repeatedly advocated for tearing up the agreement. Mattis has called for a diplomatic strategy in dealing with North Korea, but Bolton recently wrote an op-ed making a case for launching a preemptive strike on North Korea.
"I hope that there's some different world views," Mattis said of working with Bolton. "That's the normal thing you want unless you want group think."