By Arshad Mohammed and Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton blasted former president Donald Trump as a totally self-interested man who would punish his personal enemies and appease his adversaries, Russia and China, in a new edition of his memoir released Tuesday.
Bolton, who served in the Trump White House in 2018 and 2019, accused the Republican presidential nominee of having no political philosophy or coherent policy vision. If re-elected, Trump could leave the NATO security alliance, reduce support for Ukraine despite the 2022 Russian invasion, encourage China to blockade Taiwan, and generally pursue isolationism , warned Bolton.
“Trump is not fit to be president,” Bolton wrote in the new foreword to “The Room Where it Happened,” his account of his 17 months as Trump’s national security adviser . “If his first four years were bad, the next four will be worse.”
While Trump presents himself as the champion of the oppressed, once declaring “to those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your punishment,” Bolton says he is fundamentally selfish.
“Trump really only cares about retaliation against himself, and that will take much of a second term,” he wrote in the paperback edition of his memoir, which paints a grim picture of the America during a second Trump term.
Jason Miller, Trump’s senior adviser, said: “For someone who claims to have such disdain for President Trump, ‘Book Deal Bolton’ has certainly found a way to end that relationship.”
Bolton said that before serving Trump, he mistakenly believed that the charges of office would discipline the president. In the event, he found the former president consumed by his own interests.
“He cares almost exclusively for his own interests,” Bolton writes, suggesting that Trump would want to be surrounded by a “White House of serfs” to carry out his orders without question.
He also argues that Trump, revered by the right for appointing the Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade of 1973, which recognized the constitutional right of women to abortion, would not be able to pursue a conservative policy if he was re-elected.
Bolton said Trump’s inability to seek a third term under the U.S. Constitution means “the political constraints around him are much looser and the real ‘guardrail’ of voter opinion will be minimized “.
Bolton retains some of his harshest words on foreign policy, writing that Trump has sent an “isolationist virus” through the Republican Party and that “in no area…has Trump’s aberration been more destructive than in the field of national security.
He also suggested that Trump could withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a prospect likely to please Russian President Vladimir Putin, adding that “it is almost inevitable that a Trump policy on Ukraine during a second term will favor Moscow.”
Taiwan and other countries on China’s periphery “face real peril in a second Trump term,” Bolton adds, suggesting that the risks of China under President Xi Jinping provoking a crisis in talk of Taiwan – perhaps by blockading the island – would increase.
“It’s a close contest between Putin and Xi Jinping who would be happiest to see Trump return to power,” he writes.
(Reporting by Steve Holland in Washington and Arshad Mohammed in Saint Paul, Minnesota; Writing by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Michael Perry)