John Bolton Interview: Trump is a “Danger for the Republic”

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John Bolton sat down for an interview with ABC News, which garnered over 6 million viewers Sunday night. The former National Security Advisor served under President Trump for 17 months before his resignation in 2019. Now, as he prepares to publish his tell-all book about his time in the White House, Bolton states that he hopes his former boss loses reelection.

Vacuum of Leadership

“I hope [history] will remember him as a one-term president who didn’t plunge the country irretrievably into a downward spiral we can’t recall from,” Bolton told interviewer Martha Raddatz. “We can get over one term. I have absolute confidence — even if it’s not the miracle of a conservative Republican being elected in November. Two terms, I’m more troubled about.”

Bolton spoke at length about Trump’s almost purposeful ignorance of the democratic system. He alleges that the President doesn’t understand the Constitution, and doesn’t appreciate the “proper role of the presidency.” As for Trump’s basic principles of government, Bolton says there is “no coherent basis, no strategy, no philosophy.”

“And decisions are made in a very scattershot fashion, especially in the potentially mortal field of national security policy,” Bolton added. “This is a danger for the republic.” The President cares only about his own needs and his own power, Bolton alleges, and was willing to put the security of the nation at risk for his own gain.

Strongmen of the World

Bolton also detailed how smitten and easily played Trump was by other world leaders, particularly powerful authoritarians. He says that the President was mesmerized by so-called “love letters” that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un sent him. Trump relished the photo op of the two leaders shaking hands in Singapore. As for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bolton says he played Trump “like a fiddle.”

Impeachment

Democrats who tried to impeach Trump earlier this year committed “malpractice,” according to the conservative Bolton. He agrees with charges that Trump tried to use leverage over Ukraine to bolster his own political career. But Bolton says this charge, which was central to the impeachment, was just part of a larger pattern. Trump allegedly tried to persuade Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him in his reelection efforts. Trump pushed Xi to help American farmers, whom Trump believed would help elect him to a second term.

House Democrats, however, did not take the time necessary to investigate all related instances of Trump’s abuse of power, says Bolton. As a result, they were unable to remove Trump from office, potentially disabling Congress from trying Trump for other crimes.

Bolton famously did not appear in front of either house of Congress to testify at the impeachment, but he believes that his testimony would have done little to persuade Republicans to convict, as the Democrats had narrowed the scope of the investigation too much. Still, Bolton says, had he been a senator, he probably would have voted to convict and remove Trump from office.

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