John Bolton says US alliances may not survive a second term of President Donald Trump
Donald Trump’s former security adviser has warned that America’s alliances around the world, including with Australia, may not recover from the “damage” that could be caused if US President Donald Trump is elected for a second term.
- John Bolton resigned as Donald Trump’s national security adviser in September 2019
- Mr Bolton says Mr Trump is motivated by almost entirely by his own re-election
- If Mr Trump is re-elected, Mr Bolton says America’s alliances around the world may not survive
In an Australian exclusive interview with Leigh Sales on 7.30, John Bolton said the Australia-US alliance currently still delivers great benefits to Australia.
But he added that America’s “country to country” relationships could be jeopardised if Donald Trump is re-elected in the November 2020 US Presidential election.
“I feel very confident the United States can repair after one term,” Mr Bolton said.
“Two terms? I would be a little bit more worried.”
‘Only concentrating on his own re-election’
Mr Bolton has just published a book about his 18 months as national security adviser to Mr Trump, during which time he came to the conclusion that Mr Trump was unfit for office.
“He doesn’t have a guiding philosophy of grand strategy or policy,” he said.
“All presidents, of course, factor politics into their decisions.
“He’s the only president I’ve ever seen, whose almost exclusive notion is concentrating on his own re-election.”
Mr Bolton also said the President “didn’t really read” his daily briefing papers on intelligence and national security.
“With the coronavirus pandemic we’ve seen some of the problems that have emerged, I think, really as a result of this inadequate decision making or willingness to learn and willingness to adapt to the circumstances he finds himself in,” he said.
When asked what he believed Mr Trump’s chances for re-election were, Mr Bolton said it was still an open contest and noted history had shown polls cannot always be trusted.
“I think it’s a coin toss who will win in November,” he said.
“The polls show Biden with a substantial lead. Hillary Clinton had a substantial lead in 2016. We saw how that turned out.”
‘Unusual and irregular’ involvement
Mr Bolton claimed numerous instances where he said Mr Trump sought to leverage foreign governments “for his own political benefit”, including withholding military aid to Ukraine unless it agreed to investigate the activities of political rival Joe Biden’s son.
He also alleges Mr Trump asked China to help him get re-elected.
“He was doing what seemed to me like personal favours for authoritarian leaders,” he said.
“The idea that he could get China to help out in his re-election effort by buying more foreign products, a whole range of things like that, I thought was certainly inappropriate behaviour.
When asked why he did not resign, report or go public with these claims while he was in the role, said he did.
“I did report it to the Attorney-General,” Mr Bolton said.
“I reported it to the White House Counsel. I advised, at different times, members of the National Security Council staff to talk to the lawyers as well.
“I’m not an FBI agent. I had plenty else to do, not investigate these concerns. I felt others should carry that responsibility.”
He said as soon as he was not part of the administration, he spoke out.
“I don’t think you can stay in government and criticise the President publicly,” Mr Bolton said.
“If you’ve come to a parting of the ways, you have to resign. I ultimately did resign.”
Mr Trump claimed he fired Mr Bolton.
The White House unsuccessfully tried to block the book’s publication via the US Federal Court, with Mr Trump saying that it threatened national security by revealing “highly classified information”.