Quotable quotes from the Bolton book

John Bolton’s long-awaited book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” which Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr have attempted to suppress under the color of national security law, contains some very noteworthy quotes from others in their conversations with Bolton before and during the time he was Trump’s National Security Adviser. One thing is clear about the book. Bolton uses his “kiss and tell” offering to justify a boatload of discredited neoconservative policies directed against anti-imperialist nations, from Venezuela and Cuba to Iran, China, and North Korea. Bolton’s book is nothing more than a Heritage Foundation foreign policy white paper sprinkled with juicy tidbits exposing Trump and the coterie of back-biting criminals and jesters who surround him. Bolton spent a lot of ink on his favorite topics, including neocon regime change as seen in his photo with a veteran of the infamous Bay of Pigs invasion to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

The following concerns the late pundit and conservative columnist, Charles Krauthammer, shortly after Trump’s election: “Charles Krauthammer, a sharp critic of his [Trump], told me he had been wrong earlier to characterize Trump’s behavior as that of an eleven-year-old boy. ‘I was off by ten years,’ Krauthammer remarked. ‘He’s like a one-year-old. Everything is seen through the prism of whether it benefits Donald Trump.’”

Trump on a Senate confirmation vote for John Bolton to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State: “That son of a bitch Rand Paul will vote against you . . .”

Henry Kissinger to Bolton on being selected by Trump as National Security Adviser: “I have great confidence in you, and I wish you every success. You know the subject. You know the bureaucracy. I know you are able to handle it.”

Trump to Bolton on the Kurds in northern Iraq: “I don’t want to stay [in Iraq] at all. I don’t like the Kurds. They ran from the Iraqis, they ran from the Turks, the only time they don’t run is when we’re bombing all around them with F-18s.”

Trump telling Bolton about sharp words between Secretary of State Tillerson and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. Tillerson to Haley: “Don’t ever talk to me that way again . . . . You’re nothing but a cunt, and don’t ever forget it.” [These are Trump's words about the encounter and are unconfirmed by the two people alleged by Trump to have been in the conversation, Tillerson and Haley].

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly relating to Bolton a conversation he had with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) on Bolton’s selection as National Security Adviser: “[It was] the worst fucking decision.”

Trump to Bolton on China: “The Chinese don’t give a shit about us; they are cold-blooded killers [on trade].”

John Kelly to Bolton on working in the White House: ““You can’t imagine how desperate I am to get out of here. This is a bad place to work, as you will find out.”

Trump to [National Economic Council chairman] Larry Kudlow on how he should handle the disastrous 2018 Charlevoix, Canada G7 summit on the Sunday TV talk shows: “Just go after [Justin] Trudeau. Don’t knock the others. Trudeau’s a ‘behind your back’ guy.” Trump on not signing the G7 final communique: “G7 communiqué showed ‘we don’t take any shit.’”

Bolton’s take on the 2018 Trump-Kim Jong Un meeting in Singapore: “Trump said he would seek Senate approval of any nuclear agreement with North Korea, contrasting his approach positively with Obama’s unwillingness to seek ratification of the Iran nuclear deal. At this point, [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo passed me his note pad, on which he had written, ‘he is so full of shit.’”

Trump statement to Kim Jong Un in Singapore: “Trump said happily that the US couldn’t have made the [North Korea] deal with [Rex] Tillerson, who was like a block of granite.”

Kim Jong Un to Trump on the second day of their Singapore summit: “Kim’s describing his visit the night before to Sheldon Adelson’s Sands casino and hotel complex, one of the standouts of Singapore’s nightlife. Kim and Trump talked about golf, Dennis Rodman, and the US women’s soccer team’s defeating North Korea in the 2016 Olympics.”

Kim Jong Un commenting on Bolton during the summit: “‘I heard a lot about Ambassador Bolton saying not good things about us. At the end, we must have a picture so I can show the hard-liners that you are not such a bad guy.’”

Post-Singapore trip by Pompeo to Pyongyang: “Trump didn’t seem to realize Pompeo hadn’t actually seen Kim Jong Un, asking if Pompeo had handed over the Trump-autographed copy of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ CD, which Pompeo had not. Getting this CD to Kim remained a high priority for several months.”

Bolton, on preparing for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin: “‘Isn’t Finland kind of a satellite of Russia?’ he [Trump] asked. (Later that same morning, Trump asked [John] Kelly if Finland was part of Russia.) I tried to explain the history but didn’t get very far before Trump said he too wanted Vienna. ‘Whatever they [the Russians] want. Tell them we’ll do whatever they want.’ After considerable further jockeying, however, we agreed on Helsinki.”

At 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels: “Then out of nowhere, Trump said, ‘Keith Kellogg [Pence’s National Security Advisor] knows all about NATO. You know I wanted him as National Security Advisor after [Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster. He never offers his opinions unless I ask. And he’s not famous because he was never on TV. But I like John [Bolton], so I picked him.’ (As Pompeo and I reflected later, this statement told us exactly who my likely replacement would be if I resigned soon. I said, ‘Of course, if you resign, maybe Keith would be Secretary of State.’ We laughed. Pompeo paused for a moment and said, ‘Or if we both resign, Keith could become Henry Kissinger and have both jobs.’ We roared. It was the high point of the day.)”

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Bolton at 2018 NATO summit in Brussels: “Canada’s Trudeau asked, ‘Well, John, is this one going to blow up too?’ [Reference to Charlevoix] I answered, ‘Plenty of time left, what could go wrong?’ and we both laughed.”

Bilateral meeting between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at 2018 G20 summit in Buenos Aires: “Trump hypothesized that [Pennsylvania-based Turkish exile Fethulleh] Gulen would last for only one day if he were returned to Turkey. The Turks laughed but said Gulen needn’t worry, since Turkey had no death penalty.”

Bolton on Defense Secretary James Mattis’s departure: “. . . I learned that Mattis was in the Oval alone with Trump, and a previously scheduled bill-signing ceremony was running very late. As we were talking, Mattis came out, with Trump right behind him. I could tell instantly something was up. Mattis seemed stunned to see me waiting, but he shook hands without much of an expression. Trump said, ‘John, come on in,’ which I did, with just the two of us in the Oval. ‘He’s leaving,’ said Trump. ‘I never really liked him.’”

Pompeo on Trump unilaterally withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan: “‘He’s going to get crushed politically,’ said Pompeo, ‘and deservedly so.’”

At John McCain’s funeral at Washington’s National Cathedral: “[George W.] Bush asking cheerily, ‘Still got a job, Bolton?’ ‘For now,’ I answered, and we all laughed.” Bolton in conversation with Pompeo: “’Mattis is always overseas,’ Pompeo said, ‘the VP is in Mississippi talking about religious freedom, and the only thing [Treasury Secretary Steve] Mnuchin thinks about is covering his ass. This will just leave you and me,’ worrying that [John] Kelly could go at any time. ‘If he [Trump] wants to know who the real warriors are, just look around [meaning us]. And Kelly is part of that.’ I agreed. Realizing how bad it all sounded, Pompeo said, ‘This whole thing could end up being

the Donald, Ivanka, and Jared show!’”

Trump to Bolton on Venezuelan opposition leader Juan  Guaido: “He [Guaidó] doesn’t have what it takes . . . Stay away from it a little; don’t get too much involved,’ which was like saying ‘Don’t get too pregnant.’”

Trump to Mnuchin on the Treasury Secretary’s support for trade with China: “Don’t be a trade negotiator. Go after Bitcoin [for fraud].”

Trump conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Osaka G20 summit: “At the opening dinner of the Osaka G20 meeting, with only interpreters present, 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 he thought was exactly the right thing to do. [Former deputy National Security Adviser Matthew] Pottinger told me Trump said something very similar during the 2017 trip to China, which meant we could cross repression of the Uighurs off our list of possible reasons to sanction China, at least as long as trade negotiations continued.”

Trump on Taiwan: “Although it came in several variations, one of Trump’s favorite comparisons was to point to the tip of one of his Sharpies and say, ‘This is Taiwan,’ then point to the Resolute desk and say, ‘This is China.’  So much for American commitments and obligations to another democratic ally.”

Bolton on Trump’s relationship with US intelligence officials during Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi: “Trump called Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats ‘an idiot’ and asked Pompeo and me in the elevator later, ‘Did we make a mistake with [CIA Director] Gina [Haspel]?’”

Bolton on Mnuchin and sanctions: “As Wilbur Ross said in the context of Venezuela, Mnuchin often seemed more protective of US firms that were sleeping with the enemy than of accomplishing the mission we were trying to achieve.”

Trump on Bush 43: “Pompeo briefed Trump on his recent visit to Iraq, which inevitably kick-started Trump into enumerating the Bush 43 Administration’s errors: ‘Worst President we ever had,’ said Trump.”

Bolton on Iraq: “[Deputy Secretary of State] John Sullivan, in Pompeo’s absence, described the drawdown in Embassy Baghdad personnel, which lit Trump off on Afghanistan. ‘Get the fuck out’ . . . ‘Iraq doesn’t give a shit about us,’ Trump continued, referring to the Irbil consulate, saying, ‘Lock the door and leave’ . ..”

Trump on false reports about white farmers being massacred in South Africa: “Trump was hearing about the treatment of white farmers, asserting he wanted to grant them asylum and citizenship.”

On Afghanistan: “Trump asked, ‘When are we going to get out of fucking Afghanistan? Can you use some of them here [meaning the Middle East]?’ [Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph] Dunford explained that the forces in Afghanistan had different skills. ‘That fucking Mattis,’ said Trump, and off he went about how he had given Mattis the rules of engagement he wanted in Afghanistan, and we still hadn’t won. ‘When are we going to get out of Syria?” Trump rolled on. ‘All we did was save [Bashar] Assad.’”

Trump on John Kerry’s correspondence with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif: “Trump began by summarizing his discussion with [Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe, and after a riff on Kerry’s violating the Logan Act, Trump looked at [White House Counsel Pat] Cipollone and [NSC Counsel John] Eisenberg, saying, ‘The lawyers refuse to do it. I can’t understand it. It’s ridiculous you don’t do it.’”

Pompeo to Bolton regarding the 2019  G7 Summit in Biarritz, France: “‘So, we have Mnuchin and Jared, two Democrats, running our foreign policy,’ he said when I finished my report, which struck me as about right.” On a meeting in Biarritz proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron between Trump and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, “When I talked to [acting White House Chief of Staff Mick] Mulvaney just before Trump’s first bilateral that morning, he said he didn’t think there had been a meeting with Zarif. I e-mailed this news to Pompeo at about ten thirty a.m., saying I couldn’t rule out a phone call, and I also wasn’t sure whether Kushner or Mnuchin might have met or spoken with Zarif, to create a future channel of communication. (This latter hypothesis was something that I believed agitated and worried senior Israeli officials, and which of course made Pompeo livid.)”

On negotiations with the Taliban: “‘How are the negotiations going?’ Trump asked, but cut almost immediately into Pompeo’s response, raising the endemic corruption among Afghan officials, especially Afghan President [Ashraf] Ghani and his purported riches, although unfortunately confusing Ghani with former President Hamid Karzai, as he did constantly.” . . . “Then Trump began riffing about Afghan President Ghani and his elaborate house in Dubai, which we knew from actual research Ghani didn’t own.”

Trump phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: “Trump said that, as former owner of the Miss Universe Pageant,

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2020 WayneMadenReport.com

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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