Bolton: Trump’s Tough-on-China Stance Was a Campaign Strategy, Not a Trade Policy

“Rather than securing a better trade agreement for American farmers and blue-collar workers, the real goal of President Donald Trump’s trade war with China was a second term in the White House. So says John Bolton, Trump’s former national security advisor, in a Wall Street Journal excerpt from his forthcoming book, The Room Where It Happened.

Bolton writes that he would be “hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision” that wasn’t driven by the president’s re-election plans. But Bolton singles out Trump’s fraught and sometimes frothy relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping as a particularly striking example of how Trump “commingled the personal and the national.””

“Rather than getting tough on China, Trump appears to care far more about the appearance of getting tough with China than actually accomplishing substantial policy.

That’s been fairly obvious to anyone who cared to look. After all, how many economists and journalists have debunked Trump’s claim that China is paying for the cost of his tariffs, or pointed out that trade deficits don’t work the way Trump seems to think they do? But the tariffs were a useful way to appear to be doing something. From the outside, Trump’s trade policy has looked like a haphazard, self-interested mess from the start; Bolton confirms that’s how it looked inside the White House too.”

Bolton: Trump’s not ‘fit for office,’ doesn’t have ‘competence to carry out the job’

“President Donald Trump is not “fit for office” and doesn’t have “the competence to carry out the job,” his former national security adviser John Bolton told ABC News in an exclusive interview.

In an explosive new book about his 17 months at the White House, Bolton characterizes Trump as “stunningly uninformed,” ignorant of basic facts and easily manipulated by foreign adversaries.”

“”There really isn’t any guiding principle that I was able to discern other than what’s good for Donald Trump’s reelection,” Bolton told ABC News chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz.

“He was so focused on the reelection that longer-term considerations fell by the wayside,” he added.”

“Bolton was Trump’s longest serving national security adviser, accompanying the president to his two summits with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, his infamous meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and several key meetings with China’s Xi Jinping, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other world leaders on the sidelines of major events, like the G-20.

He departed the White House on Sept. 10 — saying he submitted his resignation letter after months of disagreement with the president, who countered that he fired Bolton first.”

“Trump pushed back on Bolton’s criticism and defended his foreign policy decisions late Wednesday, telling the Wall Street Journal, “He is a liar,” and, “Everyone in the White House hated John.”

A hard-liner on North Korea who has advocated for a preemptive strike on the country’s nuclear facilities, Bolton was particularly aghast at Trump’s diplomatic outreach to Kim, writing, “I was sick at heart over Trump’s zeal to meet with Kim Jong Un.”

Asked about Trump’s three meetings with Kim in particular, Bolton told ABC News, “There was considerable emphasis on the photo opportunity and the press reaction to it and little or no focus on what such meetings did for the bargaining position of the United States.””

“Trump has continually touted his strong relationship with Kim despite any progress on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and renewed military tensions between the North and America’s ally, South Korea.

Bolton blasts what he sees as Trump’s confusion of personal relationships with good foreign relations in his book”

Ted Cruz now: Quid pro quo “doesn’t matter.” Ted Cruz before: Quid pro quo talk is “hearsay.”

“former National Security Adviser John Bolton is reportedly prepared to testify he has first-hand knowledge of a quid pro quo in which President Donald Trump linked the release of held-up military aid to Ukraine to the government there helping him with investigations aimed at damaging his domestic political foes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly told Republican senators on Tuesday he doesn’t have the votes to block Democrats and four Republicans from compelling Bolton’s testimony during the ongoing impeachment trial.

So now that it’s becoming harder to deny the quid pro quo, Republican senators are learning to love it — and using the Trump-friendly confines of Fox News to downplay Bolton’s revelations before he even has the chance to testify.”

“before news about Bolton’s position broke on Sunday, the Trumpworld line was that there was no evidence one ever existed. For instance, just two weeks ago, Cruz dismissed quid pro allegations as mere “hearsay” coming from “people who had no direct evidence, witnesses who’d never even met President Trump.”

But now that news has broken about Bolton claiming to have first-hand knowledge of a quid pro quo based on a conversation he had with the president, Cruz has suddenly moved the goalposts to “quid pro quo doesn’t matter.”

“Republicans learning to love the quid pro quo illustrates how far they’re willing to go to defend Trump. They have no shame about contradicting statements they made just weeks ago, interpreting Trump’s actions in a way inconsistent with the known facts”