Former White House national security adviser John Bolton called President Donald Trump “naive and dangerous,” in an ABC News interview that aired Sunday, adding that he hopes his former boss will be remembered as a one-term president.
The statement made by a former key adviser to the sitting US president comes after details of Bolton’s upcoming book, “The Room Where it Happened,” leaked this week despite the fact that it remains the focus of an ongoing legal dispute.
“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. 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 told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz.
Bolton elaborated on many of the key themes outlined in his book, including Trump’s affinity for authoritarian leaders, including North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, which the former national security adviser says has become more of a threat despite the President’s overtures.
“The idea that — just this oleaginous — layer of compliments to this brutal dictator would convince him that you could make a deal with Donald Trump, I thought, was both strikingly naïve and dangerous,” Bolton told ABC News.
“The threat from North Korea today is absolutely greater. Because while all these photo opportunities were taking place, there’s absolutely no doubt that North Korea’s work on both its nuclear and ballistic missile programs continued. It’s one of the most secretive societies on the planet,” he said.
Bolton, a hawk on North Korean policy, said he did not believe the regime has “slowed down one bit during these two years of negotiations. So like the eight years of Obama, we just lost another two or three years. And the North Korea and the Iranian and other rogue state capabilities continue to advance.”
Kim was also able to manipulate Trump, Bolton says in his book.
Bolton writes extensively about his disagreements with Trump’s approach to North Korea before, during, and after the Singapore summit with Kim, which Bolton hoped would “collapse” before it happened and compared to the appeasement of Nazi Germany, even quoting Winston Churchill.
“The whole diplomatic fandango was South Korea’s creation,” Bolton writes, “relating more to its ‘unification’ agenda than serious strategy on Kim’s part or ours.”
Despite the objections of his advisers, Bolton writes that “Trump was desperate to have the meeting at any price.”
Bolton then writes that Kim had Trump “hooked” at the Singapore summit as they flattered each other in their meeting.
When Trump told Kim he would seek Senate approval of any nuclear deal, Bolton writes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo passed Bolton a note saying “he is so full of shit.” Bolton suggests Pompeo was referring to Trump, not Kim.
In his interview with ABC News, Bolton said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks he can play Trump “like a fiddle.”
“I think Putin is smart, tough. I think he can see that he’s not faced with a serious adversary here. I don’t think he’s worried about Donald Trump,” Bolton said.
Trump has previously claimed that no other president has been tougher on Russia than he has but that claim has been questioned by several of his own advisers, in addition to Bolton.