- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 18, 2020

President Trump and his backers went into overdrive Thursday in their campaign to discredit former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton as a liar and ideological warmonger, as the administration tries to block the release of his tell-all book.

The president said Mr. Bolton bungled relations with North Korea and called him “a disgruntled boring fool who only wanted to go to war.”

Advisers portrayed Mr. Bolton as a mercenary whose interventionist foreign-policy views were out of step with the president.

“He is doing it for the money,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said of Mr. Bolton’s $2 million book deal. “It is the Washington swamp’s equivalent of revenge porn. He got fired because he did not obey the chain of command, because his views were totally out of sync with President Donald J. Trump with respect to how to handle international affairs.”

Mr. Navarro said Mr. Bolton, who also served less than 18 months as U.N. ambassador under Republican President George W. Bush, has a “pattern” of leaving administrations unhappily and then criticizing them.

“He did that with the Bush administration after he helped get the Bush administration into the Iraq War by pushing the ‘big lie’ that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction,” Mr. Navarro said. “That’s the pattern.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Mr. Bolton has replaced former FBI Director James B. Comey, another Trump critic, “as the most disliked man in America.”

The furious pushback by the White House comes ahead of the scheduled release on Tuesday of “The Room Where It Happened,” Mr. Bolton’s account of his 17 months as the president’s top national-security aide on issues ranging from the war in Afghanistan to the anti-communist rebellion in Venezuela.

One of the most damning passages in the book is Mr. Bolton’s claim that Mr. Trump tried to enlist Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him win reelection by agreeing to purchase more U.S. agricultural products during long-running trade negotiations. U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, a key negotiator, called the accusation “absolutely untrue” and “crazy.”

The book is the latest high-profile falling out with the president of former top administration officials, including former Defense Secretary James Mattis, former White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Mr. Bolton was the third of Mr. Trump’s four national security advisers in his first term; two others served briefly in the post in acting roles.

Mr. Bolton said in interview excerpts made public Thursday that Mr. Trump is “unfit” for office.

“I don’t think he has the competence to carry out the job,” Mr. Bolton said during the ABC News interview, which is scheduled to air in full Sunday. “There really isn’t any guiding principle that I was able to discern other than what’s good for Donald Trump’s reelection. I think he was so focused on the reelection that longer-term considerations fell by the wayside.”

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