'Bloated with self-importance': Critics slam John Bolton for keeping quiet about Trump's unhinged conduct
Excerpts from a new book by John Bolton detailing his time in President Donald Trump's inner circle as national security advisor are drawing anger for the fact the new information is coming out long after the impeachment hearings from last fall, making the revelations more evidence that Bolton was "100% complicit" in the president's crimes.
"Bolton is a moral abomination in every way," tweeted MSNBC host Chris Hayes, referring to the former advisor's decades-long career, devoted to the U.S. declaring war on any and every perceived enemy in sight. "It's also the case that basically everyone in government who comes close to Trump comes away thinking he's even worse than they realized."
Bolton is 100% complicit and every article should state this plainly and up front. https://t.co/Rx3WsRkZxN— Violet Blue® (@Violet Blue®) 1592422328
The book is "bloated with self-importance," the New York Times reported, and "toggles between two discordant registers: exceedingly tedious and slightly unhinged."
The National Security advisor reveals moments from his time in the White House that raise eyebrows, such as Trump asking Chinese President Xi Jinping to help with the 2020 election and encouraged the Chinese leader to expand concentration camps for the country's Uighur minority population, promises from Trump to Turkey's President Recep Erdogan to replace U.S. attorneys investigating a Turkish firm, the president's uncertainty if Finland was a part of Russia or that the U.K. was a nuclear power, and more.
The president also endorsed killing journalists, the book claims.
And now for the part in Bolton's book where he says Trump suggests killing reporters: "...Trump says journalists sh… https://t.co/E66PIZ4YTn— Ashley Parker (@Ashley Parker) 1592421357
But Trump's overwhelming level of corruption and ignorance did not motivate Bolton to go to Congress when the body was investigating the president, as anti-extremism advocate Melissa Ryan noted on Twitter.
"Friendly reminder that John Bolton, instead of telling Congress what he knew while they were holding impeachment proceedings, wrote a fucking book," said Ryan.
Details from the book reportedly show Bolton frequently distressed and alarmed by the president's irrational mood swings and decisions, a revelation that did not win him much sympathy from New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie.
"The thing about John Bolton's shock at Trump's ignorance and incompetence is that it takes a fair amount of brain poisoning in the first place to look at Trump and think he might be anything other than ignorant and incompetent," Bouie said.
Among the most upsetting moments for the former advisor is the president's decision in June 2019 not to launch a disproportionate missile strike against Iran for downing a U.S. drone at the last minute after Bolton convinced him to.
For Bolton the worst presidential crimes are the decisions not to commit war crimes: Calling off the Iran attack is… https://t.co/hy6MnaqGNV— Jeffrey St. Clair (@Jeffrey St. Clair) 1592424979
As the New York Times described the passage:
You can sense Bolton's excitement when he describes going home "at about 5:30" for a change of clothes because he expected to be at the White House "all night." It's therefore an awful shock when Trump decided to call off the strikes at the very last minute, after learning they would kill as many as 150 people.
At one point, the Washington Post reported, Trump became consumed with the need to ensure Kim Jong Un receive a CD of Elton John singing "Rocket Man," a reference to a disparaging nickname the president had given the North Korean leader that Trump now wanted to turn into a sign of affection. The president was insistent that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hand the disk to Kim and upset when Pompeo failed to during a diplomatic trip to North Korea.
"Trump didn't seem to realize Pompeo hadn't actually seen Kim Jong Un, asking if Pompeo had handed" him the CD, Bolton wrote. "Pompeo had not. Getting this CD to Kim remained a high priority for several months."
Trump and the White House have tried to stop publication of the book, but that appears unlikely. Bolton is persona non grata in the administration today, with the president's allies referring to the former advisor as a traitor.
"I truly hope Trump throws Bolton in some kind of hellish, off the books dungeon for his treason," tweeted Will Menaker, cohost of the Chapo Trap House podcast.
"Not the book," Menaker added, "I'm talking about the Iraq war and the rest of his career."