| 10°C Dublin

Six things John Bolton’s book tells us about life in Donald Trump’s White House

The former national security adviser has made a series of allegations about the president’s time in the Oval Office.

Close

John Bolton, the national security adviser at the time, listens to President Donald Trump during an Oval Office meeting in July 2019. Photo credit: Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford

John Bolton, the national security adviser at the time, listens to President Donald Trump during an Oval Office meeting in July 2019. Photo credit: Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford

The Washington Post

John Bolton, the national security adviser at the time, listens to President Donald Trump during an Oval Office meeting in July 2019. Photo credit: Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford

Former US national security adviser John Bolton’s book contains a series of claims about President Donald Trump’s time in office, accusing the commander in chief of ignorance of world affairs and putting his own personal interests ahead of those of the nation.

The book, titled The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, is set to be released on Tuesday by Simon & Schuster.

Mr Trump, who tried to block the book, has hit back at Mr Bolton who also served in senior roles under George W Bush.


The president pleaded with China’s Xi Jinping to help his re-election bid

Close

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Anthony Devlin/PA)

PA

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Mr Bolton wrote: “I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations.”

Mr Bolton said Mr Trump’s attempt to shift a June 2019 conversation with Mr Xi to the US election was a stunning move, and wrote that it was among innumerable conversations that he found concerning.

He added that Congress should have expanded the scope of its impeachment inquiry to these other incidents.

US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, who attended talks between Mr Trump and Mr Xi in Osaka, said the claim was untrue, saying: “Would I recollect something as crazy as that? Of course I would recollect it.”

The president was unaware the UK was a nuclear power

Mr Trump, whose mother was from Scotland and who owns golf courses in the UK and Ireland, reportedly was unaware that the UK had its own nuclear deterrent.

The president did not know how the White House operated

Close

John Bolton and Ivanka Trump leave 10 Downing Street during Donald Trump’s state visit (Yui Mok/PA)

John Bolton and Ivanka Trump leave 10 Downing Street during Donald Trump’s state visit (Yui Mok/PA)

PA

John Bolton and Ivanka Trump leave 10 Downing Street during Donald Trump’s state visit (Yui Mok/PA)

Mr Bolton said his former boss “saw conspiracies behind rocks, and remained stunningly uninformed on how to run the White House, let alone the huge federal government”.

He claimed Mr Trump typically had only two intelligence briefings a week “and in most of those, he spoke at greater length than the briefers, often on matters completely unrelated to the subjects at hand”.

Mr Trump responded in a tweet that Mr Bolton was a “disgruntled boring fool who only wanted to go to war”.

Mr Trump thought Finland was part of Russia

Close

Air Force One takes off from Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire for Finland, which the president reportedly believed was part of Russia (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Air Force One takes off from Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire for Finland, which the president reportedly believed was part of Russia (Andrew Milligan/PA)

PA

Air Force One takes off from Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire for Finland, which the president reportedly believed was part of Russia (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Mr Bolton’s book suggests the president thought Finland belonged to its large neighbour, Russia.

While Russia did conquer Finland in the 1808–1809 war with Sweden, Finland was granted its own parliament in 1906. The Soviets invaded Finland at the start of the Second World War, but this ended with a peace treaty in 13 March 1940.


The president backed China’s construction of concentration camps for mainly Muslim Uighurs

Mr Bolton wrote: “According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which he thought was exactly the right thing to do.”

The president linked aid to Ukraine to co-operation in efforts to undermine Joe Biden

Close

Joe Biden is Donald Trump’s opponent in November’s election (Niall Carson/PA)

Joe Biden is Donald Trump’s opponent in November’s election (Niall Carson/PA)

PA

Joe Biden is Donald Trump’s opponent in November’s election (Niall Carson/PA)

The book says that the president was determined to undermine Joe Biden, his opponent in November’s presidential election, by targeting Mr Biden’s son Hunter over his business interests in Ukraine.

Mr Bolton wrote: “He (Trump) wasn’t in favour of sending them (Ukraine) anything until all the Russia investigation materials related to (Hillary) Clinton and Biden had been turned over.

Mr Trump was found not guilty in an impeachment trial of wrongdoing over these claims.

PA Media