John Bolton dicusses his time as national security adviser and his impressions of US President Donald Trump with DW Conflict Zone.
Four months before the next US presidential election, Donald Trump’s poll numbers are in a slump. Disaffected conservatives call him incompetent and are campaigning against the Republican president, citing the upward curve of new coronavirus cases in the US, the millions of unemployed Americans, and the protests and racial tension in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. They echo Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who says Trump’s leadership is inadequate.
One of his three former national security advisors, John Bolton, joined DW’s Tim Sebastian to discuss his impressions of President Trump on Conflict Zone. He has just releases his book on the issue ‘The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir’
00:01:10 Trump’s integrity
00:03:45 Obstruction of justice
00:05:30 Working for Trump
00:08:30 Corrupted government
00:09:25 Trump and dictators
00:10:15 Kim Jong un
00:12:15 Vladimir Putin
00:14:45 Russian bounties for the Taliban
00:17:30 Jamal Khasogghi
00:19:45 Iran nuclear deal
21:45 Ukraine and Impeachment
More background and key quotes: https://p.dw.com/p/3eyIE
The picture Bolton paints in his latest book, “The Room Where It Happened,” is filled with disturbing takes of the current US president: dubious offers to strongmen Trump admires and a president who does not even read, let alone study briefing materials on complex national security issues.
Bolton characterizes White House infighting as part of Trump’s managerial style. “I think that Trump is very mistrustful of not only the bureaucracy as a whole, but even his own staff.”
“He still hasn’t fully appreciated what it means to be president of the United States,” Bolton added.
When asked about Trump’s admiration of dictators, Bolton demurred: “I’m not a shrink, I don’t psychoanalyze people.”
But he did offer this: “Trump, in a sense, envied the Xi Jinpings and the Vladimir Putins. He liked talking to ‘big guys.’ You know, ‘big guys’ get together and they do ‘big guy’ things. I think it was that simplistic.”
Does Trump fear the Russian president, Sebastian asked.
“I don’t think he’s scared of him,” Bolton answered, and cautioned against exaggeration.
“There’s plenty to criticize, but when people stretch beyond what they need to to make the criticism, it doesn’t strengthen the case against Trump; it weakens it. It emboldens many of his supporters to say we’re victims of a conspiracy.”
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