June 23, 2020

John Bolton in Conversation with Robert Costa

Former national security advisor and veteran U.S. diplomat John Bolton has released a new White House memoir about his time working for the Trump Administration. Washington Post national political reporter Robert Costa talks to Bolton about “The Room Where It Happened,” his highly anticipated take on his 453 days working with President Trump.
Highlights
Former national security advisor John Bolton says he thinks the most ‘disturbing’ moment in his early days with the Trump Administration was at the NATO summit in Brissels when Trump was ‘very close to withdrawing from NATO.’ ‘That whole incident which played out over perhaps a 48-hour period was very unnerving to me, and I think as I indicate probably the first point after i joined the white house that I thought i was going to have to resign.’
  • Jun 23
Former national security advisor John Bolton says he didn’t testify before the House during the impeachment hearings because he felt the process was ‘doomed’ from the start. ‘Jumping off the cliff with them [would have been] not only a mistake, but that whatever else I had to say would have gotten lost in the shuffle of their mistakes.’
  • Jun 23
Former national security advisor John Bolton says he doesn’t think Russian President Vladimir Putin has changed President Trump’s world view because he doesn’t think Trump has a world view. “He doesn’t have a grand strategy, he doesn’t have policies. There’s not much there for the Russians -- or anyone else -- to manipulate.”
  • Jun 23
When asked whether he thinks there will be a peaceful transfer of power if President Trump does not win reelection in November, former national security advisor John Bolton said, ‘I hope so...I think in the Trump Administration you can’t be certain of anything.’
  • Jun 23
When asked if he confronted President Trump about conduct he found troublesome, former national security advisor John Bolton said, ‘The president is very good at rejecting criticism he doesn’t want to hear…Service in the White House itself is not like ‘The West Wing’. There are no dramatic confrontations with the president, at least any that don’t result in about 24-hours later, the confronter departing from the White House…It’s not the kind of environment, as in any business office, where you look to confront your boss with something.”
  • Jun 23
Former national security advisor John Bolton called President Trump’s decision to continue the U.S.-Saudi relationship in the wake of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi a ‘hard, realpolitik view of the world.’ ‘That is the view he took because of the importance of the bilateral U.S.- Saudi relationship, and I think that was the right course.”
  • Jun 23
John Bolton
Former National Security Advisor and Author of “The Room Where it Happened”
John Bolton is the former National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump. He served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006. He has spent many years of his career in public service and held high-level positions in the Administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush. Ambassador Bolton is also an attorney, and was in private practice in Washington, DC, from 1974 to 2018, except when he was in government service. Ambassador Bolton was born in Baltimore in 1948. He graduated with a BA, summa cum laude, from Yale College and received his JD from Yale Law School. He currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
Interviewed by Robert Costa
The Washington Post
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