Former National Security Advisor John Bolton is already making headlines with his new tell-all memoir, The Room Where it Happened: A White House Memoir, which accuses Donald Trump of pleading with China’s Xi Jinping to help him get reelected in the upcoming presidential election, and it’s not even out yet! The author’s book hits stands next week, but reviews are already talking about his shocking accusations about Trump and his time in the White House. He claims the conversation between Trump and Xi, who is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, happened at a 2019 summit and he goes on to further claim that Trump was focused on political gain more than national security.
The claims about China are similar to the claims that say Trump sought out political help from Ukraine, which caused his impeachment earlier this year. In Bolton’s 577-page book, which gives a vivid first-person account of how Trump and his administration conduct themselves in office, he calls Trump’s conversations with Xi concerning and admits he thinks Congress should have looked at these other incidents during Trump’s impeachment. “I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations,” Bolton boldly wrote in the book.
Here are five things you should know about Bolton and his new book.
1. He was Trump’s National Security Advisor from April 2018 to September 2019. After firing General H.R. McMaster, 57, as National Security Advisor in 2018, Trump replaced him with Bolton. In a March 22, 2018 tweet, the president announced: “I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18,
@AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on 4/9.” Bolton exited the administration in September 2019 after an increasingly tense term that ended in him and Trump even disagreeing about whether he quit or was fired.
2. The White House attempted to block him from publishing his book. The Trump administration issued a threat to Bolton to keep him from releasing The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir. In a letter to Bolton’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, obtained by CNN, a top official at the National Security Council argued that the unpublished draft of Bolton’s memoir “appears to contain significant amounts of classified information,” and cannot be released as is. The letter, dated January 23, claimed that the allegedly “top secret” information “reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave harm to the national security.
The Department of Justice also filed suit on June 16 to try and delay the publication of the book, which is set to be released on June 23, and again claimed it contains highly classified information and that required review by the National Security Council hasn’t been completed. Bolton also wrote that before the final draft of the memoir, he made “numerous changes to the manuscript in order to obtain clearance to publish, the vast bulk of which, in my view, did not change the facts set forth.” He also said that in some cases he was asked to add “in my view” to clearly state he was expressing his opinion.
….many more mistakes of judgement, gets fired because frankly, if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now, and goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book. All Classified National Security. Who would do this?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2020
3. He criticized Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “Trump’s reflex effort to talk his way out of anything, however, even a public-health crisis, only undercut his and the nation’s credibility, with his statements looking more like political damage control than responsible public-health advice,” he further wrote in the book.
4. Trump had previously considered him as a potential Secretary of State. In a 2016 interview, then-candidate Trump revealed that he had Bolton on his list as a possible Secretary of State. Bolton admitted in a December 2016 episode of Fox and Friends that Trump almost considered him to be his top diplomat; Exxon Oil CEO Rex Tillerson got the job instead. Tillerson was fired by Trump on March 13.
5. He worked under three other Republican presidents besides Trump. Bolton served as George W. Bush‘s United Nations Ambassador. He worked in the State and Justice Departments under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush‘s administrations.