Former National Security Adviser John Bolton evidently didn't hear President Trump make the disparaging comments about U.S. troops reported by The Atlantic — but if Trump did make them, it sounds like Bolton wouldn't be overly surprised.
Trump on Friday continued to deny a damning report by The Atlantic, which alleged that he canceled a 2018 visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris because he worried his hair would "become disheveled in the rain" and "because he did not believe it important to honor" the dead. Trump also reportedly referred to troops who were killed as "suckers" and asked, "Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers."
Bolton, who was on the Paris trip, commented on the story to The New York Timeson Friday, saying, "I didn't hear that. I'm not saying he didn't say them later in the day or another time but I was there for that discussion."
Bolton claimed that canceling the visit was a "straight weather call," though he also added that Trump didn't object to it, despite how the president claims he reacted.
"He didn't say, 'This is terrible, I have to go out to the veterans,'" Bolton told the Times. "He accepted it and that was pretty much the end of it."
However, Bolton suggested the comments aren't out of character for Trump, telling the Times, "I haven't heard anybody yet react to say, 'That's not the Donald Trump I know.'" Bolton also told Bloombergit's "it's certainly possible" Trump made the comments "later in the day."
AP reporter James LaPorta previously confirmedThe Atlantic's reporting "in its entirety" with a senior Defense Department official, while The Washington Post confirmed that Trump has "frequently made disparaging comments about veterans and soldiers missing in action," and the Times writes that Trump "has long scorned those who served in Vietnam as being too dumb to have gotten out of it." Brendan Morrow
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. Brendan Morrow