According to the Wall Street Journal excerpt, Bolton says that at the 2019 G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Trump personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to buy large quantities of soybeans to help the American president in the upcoming November election. Xi should do this, Trump said, because of the Democrats’ great hostility toward China. In a different meeting at the summit, Trump reportedly told Xi he supported the building of concentration camps for China’s Uighurs in Xinjiang—the largest mass detention of civilians since World War II. It was the second time he said this to Xi. Bolton also claims that Trump was willing to intervene in investigations as a favor to people he liked.* All of this, Bolton wrote, amounted to “a pattern of fundamentally unacceptable behavior that eroded the very legitimacy of the presidency.” Bolton concludes the excerpt by observing that Trump has been soft on China and his tough stance post-coronavirus may not last beyond November. In this excerpt alone, the former national security adviser has eviscerated the Republican case for Trump’s foreign policy.
David Graham: John Bolton plumbs the depth of Trump’s depravity
There is no question that this book contains explosive revelations that could well have an impact on the election. It is so hard-hitting that I wonder if Bolton deliberately intends to aid Joe Biden, or perhaps to help Republicans take advantage of their plummeting poll numbers to pressure Trump into dropping out, as outlandish as that sounds.
The United States is 138 days away from an election that will surely rank alongside 1860’s as one of the two most consequential in its history. Anybody who has knowledge about Donald Trump should speak up now, because the information will not matter on November 4.
Very few people who served in his administration have talked about what they saw. My friend and colleague Fiona Hill did. Marie Yovanovitch did. Alexander Vindman did. But where are the most senior officials? Where is Gary Cohn? Rex Tillerson? Jon Huntsman Jr.? Nikki Haley? H. R. McMaster has a book coming out in the fall, but it is unlikely to say much about Trump. Jim Mattis and John Kelly finally spoke out when Trump was poised to use the military against peaceful protesters, but they have still said precious little about what they saw on the inside as secretary of defense and chief of staff, respectively. Many former administration officials have run to ground or rallied to Trump’s side. Occasionally a little snippet will appear about a remark they made in a speech, but nothing more. No doubt if Trump loses in a landslide, we will hear a lot more about the concerns they had. Those admissions will be too late.
John Bolton is the only senior official who is actually speaking out. Yes, he should have testified in front of Congress, but would it have materially affected the outcome? The overwhelming majority of Republicans never would have voted to convict.