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James Mattis jokingly calls new national security adviser John Bolton ‘the devil incarnate’

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WATCH: James Mattis overheard calling John Bolton ‘the devil incarnate’ – Mar 29, 2018

U.S. defense secretary James Mattis greeted newly appointed national security adviser John Bolton on Thursday — by calling him the “devil incarnate.”

Mattis was overheard making the remark in jest upon meeting Bolton for the first time just outside the Pentagon.

“I heard that you’re actually the devil incarnate and I wanted to meet you,” Mattis said, with Bolton responding with a laugh.

READ MORE: With John Bolton pick, Trump expected to adopt more hawkish foreign policy approach

Mattis has made a concerted effort to dismiss speculation that he didn’t take kindly to Bolton’s appointment, and that the two men were bound to butt heads on a variety of issues.

Bolton, who will take over as national security adviser April 9 after H.R. McMaster’s ouster, is known to hold hawkish views on a host of foreign policy matters. A divisive foreign policy figure and strong proponent of American power, he was a supporter of the Iraq war and a vocal critic of the Iran nuclear agreement.

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But Mattis said Tuesday that he had “no concerns” about working with Bolton.

READ MORE: Worried about John Bolton? Pentagon chief Jim Mattis dismisses concerns

“We’re going to sit down together… and I look forward to working with him. No reservations. No concerns at all,” Mattis said. “Last time I checked, he’s an American and I can work with an American, OK? I’m not the least bit concerned with that sort of thing.”

— With files from The Associated Press

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