Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says "maybe even Henry Kissinger" would say 'the Kissinger model' of a joint secretary of state and national security adviser "might not be the best idea."
As President Trump begins to consider replacements for National Security Adviser John Bolton, sources close to the administration say it's possible Trump will ask Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to fill the role. Under this scenario, Pompeo would absorb the national security adviser role and carry out both jobs.
Henry Kissinger had already been serving as President Richard Nixon's national security adviser when he was appointed secretary of state in 1973, and filled both roles for two years.
"I think maybe even Henry Kissinger would say that that might not be the best idea because the president needs a secretary of state who is the chief diplomat who is out executing on behalf of the country who is confirmed by and accountable to the Congress," Rice, who served in the Bush administration, told Margaret Brennan in an interview to air Sunday on "Face the Nation."
"The national security adviser has to be the president's alter ego, behind the scenes more. Working to bring all of the Cabinet secretaries together, making sure the defense is heard, the treasury's heard," Rice said.
"And so if that person is also the secretary of state you- you're not going to have that kind of separation that you need to make sure that everybody is- is heard," Rice added.
Kissinger was a major influence in shaping U.S. foreign policy in the Nixon and Ford administrations, and served as a consultant on security matters for the administrations of Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson.
"But Henry Kissinger was singular. There has never been anybody like him in history, probably never will be again. But I think the model works much better when the National Security Adviser tries to be an honest broker," Rice said.
When asked about his top picks to replace Bolton — which the president said he'll name next week — Trump said he has "five people that want it very much... Five people that I consider very highly qualified, good people."
Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran and senior policy adviser to Pompeo at the State Department and Steve Biegun, the special envoy to North Korea, have emerged as top contenders to replace Bolton. Other names being floated to fill the role include Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway did not rule out the idea of Pompeo assuming the position when speaking to reporters on the White House driveway Thursday morning. However, President Trump dismissed the idea later in the day.
The next national security adviser will be President Trump's fourth since taking office. Michael Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, resigned after just three weeks. H.R. McMaster served more than a year before being replaced with Bolton in April 2018.
Rice, who worked with Bolton in the Bush administration, suggested she wasn't very surprised to hear of his departure from the Trump administration, given the policy disagreements between Bolton and President Trump.
"I think John is a great intellect. I think he cares deeply about the country, he has strong views. But John I think did a good job in trying to bring different perspectives to the president," she said. "But the fact of the matter is – and I know he understands this – when the president and the national security adviser are not on the same page it's not the president who is going to go."