Speed Reads

the room where it happened

Bolton says Trump approved of Chinese President Xi building Uighur concentration camps

The jaw-dropping allegations from John Bolton's book just keep coming.

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday published an excerpt from the upcoming book from President Trump's former national security adviser, The Room Where It Happened, in which Bolton details a 2019 conversation Trump had with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Setting the stage for the conversation, Bolton writes that in 2018, Trump asked "why we were considering sanctioning China over its treatment of the Uighurs, a largely Muslim people who live primarily in China's northwest Xinjiang Province." Cut to June 2019, when Trump spoke to Xi and Xi "explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang."

"According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do," Bolton writes, adding that a National Security Council staffer says Trump "said something very similar during his November 2017 trip to China."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last year said the U.S. calls on China "to immediately end its campaign of repression in Xinjiang" and "release all those arbitrarily detained" amid its "highly repressive campaign against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) that includes mass detentions in internment camps."

Bolton also alleges that Trump once "refused to issue a White House statement" on the 30th anniversary of Tiananmen Square, wrongly saying "that was 15 years ago" and asking, "Who cares about it?" He additionally writes that Trump heaped praise on Xi by telling him "you're the greatest Chinese leader in 300 years" before deciding actually, he's "the greatest leader in Chinese history."

Shortly after this allegation from Bolton was made public on Wednesday, Trump signed the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 into law.