Speed Reads


Trump 'couldn't care less' about China's Uighur maltreatment, multiple officials confirm

One of the most troubling accounts in former National Security Adviser John Bolton's forthcoming White House memoir, The Room Where It Happened, is his recollection of a 2018 meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Xi "explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang" for Uighur Muslims, Bolton recounts. "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." In an earlier, pre-redaction draft seen by Vanity Fair, Trump's words were reportedly: "Go ahead, you're doing exactly the right thing."

Trump told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that it's "not true" he effectively gave his blessing to Xi on the Uighur camps, noting he signed Uighur Human Rights Policy Act, passed May 27 with overwhelming bipartisan support, on Wednesday, shortly Bolton's allegation was reported. "I could have fought it," Trump said. "And I would have won. But I didn't fight that deal." A National Security Council spokesman told The Daily Beast it's "preposterous" to claim Trump didn't challenge Beijing on its Uighur mass imprisonment, torture, harsh cultural and religious "re-education," and extensive surveillance.

In fact, "Trump has exhibited a callous indifference" when briefed on the "crimes against humanity and cultural genocide taking place in China's western Xinjiang province," The Daily Beast reports, citing nine current and former senior administration officials.

"He couldn't give a s--t," one former senior Trump administration official with first-hand knowledge told The Daily Beast. "There has never been any indication when the issue comes up that the president cares or is even making any effort to fake it." When the issue has been raised at various points in his presidency, three officials added, "the president has often quickly changed the subject. Sometimes, he will add an 'Oh, wow' or an 'Oh, really?' in response to a horrific data point or piece of related information, before moving on."

There is grave concern about the Uighur maltreatment among "the China folks" in his White House, a former GOP national security official told The Daily Beast. But "it was clear to most based off my conversations with the national security team that the president couldn't care less."