Bolton claims that Trump views China policy entirely through the lens of his re-election, fixated on securing a trade deal at the expense of almost everything else. That, according to Bolton, raises the possibility that Trump’s recent tough talk about China’s role in the coronavirus pandemic is nothing more than bluster that may dissolve if he wins re-election.
“The Trump presidency is not grounded in philosophy, grand strategy or policy,” Bolton writes. “It is grounded in Trump. That is something to think about for those, especially China realists, who believe they know what he will do in a second term.”
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said it was “absolutely untrue” that Trump asked Xi for help with the 2020 US election during trade talks in Japan last year. Lighthizer made the statement in Senate testimony on Wednesday.
Bolton writes that last year, Trump offered to reverse criminal prosecutions against Huawei Technology Companies Ltd. if it would help secure a phase-one trade deal with China.
Bolton also said Trump did not study the weighty issues facing the country and knew little about other nations he dealt with. For example, Bolton writes that the president asked if Finland was part of Russia and expressed surprise upon hearing the United Kingdom is a nuclear power, according to The Washington Post.
The lack of knowledge put the President at a severe disadvantage when dealing with leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bolton said in an interview with ABC News.
“I think Putin thinks he can play him like a fiddle. I think Putin is smart, tough. I think he sees that he’s not fazed with a serious adversary here. I don’t think he’s worried about Donald Trump,” Bolton said in a clip that aired Wednesday.
The book, titled “The Room Where It Happened,” could have lasting consequences for Trump’s campaign, which has already been bedeviled by the President’s response to nationwide protests against police brutality and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump is trailing his presumptive opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, in national polls and in many polls of key swing states.
“If these accounts are true, it’s not only morally repugnant, it’s a violation of Donald Trump’s sacred duty to the American people to protect America’s interests and defend our values,” Biden said in a statement on Wednesday.
In asking for the emergency restraining order on Wednesday night, the government argued that the book contained classified information and that Bolton failed to get approval to have it published.
The injunction should “instruct his publisher to take any and all available steps to retrieve and destroy any copies of the book that may be in the possession of any third party,” the government said in court papers.
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