SOUR GRAPES: Bolton Says Trump ‘Barely Knew Where Ukraine Was’

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Former national security adviser John Bolton has rejected a claim from a Newsmax host who asserted that the behavior of President Donald Trump deterred the Russians from invading Ukraine. Bolton emphasized that Trump “barely knew where Ukraine was.”

Speaking with the conservative network Monday night, Bolton sat back as host Rob Schmitt listed Trump accomplishments that the broadcaster claimed helped block Russia from attacking Ukraine. All the while, the pro-Trump network displayed a chyron that read, “Trump was tough on Russia.”

But Bolton, who has become a vocal critic of Trump, denied that his former boss was tough on Russia, claiming that Trump complained about any sanctions on Russian oligarchs in the United States. Then Bolton, who said Trump “did not” do a better job with Russia than President Joe Biden, went one step further about Trump’s knowledge of Ukraine.

“The fact is that he barely knew where Ukraine was,” he said.

Taylor Budowich, a spokesman for Trump, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. Budowich told the Hill in a statement that Bolton was fired “because he believes anything less than war is not enough.”

“President Trump ensured peace during his administration and ended wars, making Bolton irrelevant,” Budowich said.

Bolton’s comments come as Russian forces continue to bear down on Ukraine. A 40-mile-long Russian convoy approaching Kyiv had “stalled,” perhaps to regroup, a senior U.S. defense official said, but other forces gathered menacing strength on Tuesday, six days into the conflict in Ukraine. While fighting continues across the country, nearly 680,000 Ukrainians have fled since the start of the Russian invasion, according to the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi.

Trump has faced criticism since he recently described Putin as “smart,” “savvy” and a “genius” for sending military forces into Ukraine. Trump has continued to champion Putin at the expense of Biden, who defeated Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

In an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham last week, Trump incorrectly seemed to think that the United States had decided to go to war with Russia. After he was corrected by Ingraham, Trump said, “Oh, I thought you said we were sending people in.”

As the war has unfolded in Ukraine, Trump has sought to rewrite some of the history surrounding his support of the country and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In a statement Monday, Trump repeated some of the same falsehoods he said during his presidency regarding his backing of Ukraine and NATO, The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler wrote.

“With Trump, it’s hard to know if he’s willfully ignorant or if he has simply swallowed his own spin,” Kessler wrote.

Contrary to the former president’s statements, Trump wanted to leave NATO, according to Bolton’s 2020 memoir. Bolton wrote that he had to convince Trump not to quit NATO in the middle of a 2018 summit, despite his repeated wishes to leave the alliance.

Bolton continued to debunk some of Trump’s falsehoods on Newsmax, a Trump-friendly channel that appeals to far-right conservatives. Schmitt repeated some of what Trump has promoted as his achievements before asking Bolton about Trump’s “very tough stance against Russia.”

“I’m surprised you don’t think that he would have handled it better than Joe Biden,” the host said.

“He did not,” Bolton replied, touching on several instances in which Trump failed to enforce sanctions or was forced into imposing sanctions. “In almost every case, the sanctions were imposed with Trump complaining about it, saying we were being too hard.”

During the interview, Bolton claimed that Trump once asked then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly whether Finland was part of Russia. The former national security adviser emphasized that the narrative on Newsmax regarding the Ukraine invasion was a departure from reality.

“It’s just not accurate to say that Trump’s behavior somehow deterred the Russians,” he said. As Schmitt tried to interrupt him, Bolton continued, “I think the evidence is that Russia didn’t feel their military was ready.”

Toward the end of the interview, Bolton flatly stated, as he has since he left the Trump administration, that Trump “was not fit to be president.”

“He was not competent to be president,” he said.

Schmitt replied, “You worked for him, though.”

Bolton acknowledged that he worked for Trump “because I wanted to try … to help protect American national security.”

“I jumped at the chance, there’s no doubt about it,” he said.

Bolton doubled down on his position Tuesday, telling Vice that Trump “and his own political failure” played at least a small role in the invasion of Ukraine.

“To the extent that there was an unnatural environment created, it made it that much easier for Putin,” he said. “I don’t think it was dispositive, but it was a factor, that’s for sure.”

(c) 2022, The Washington Post · Timothy Bella 

{Matzav.com}


12 COMMENTS

  1. Bolton is a worthless piece of debris what did he ever accomplish in life whereas Trump did a whole lot in tangible terms economy Arab states etc

  2. Got it John, you hate the guy! He clipped your wings. He fired you! But gosh, what kind of argument are you putting up? He doesn’t have to know where Ukraine is; that’s why he hired you and other experts! You’re still bitter: granted as I would be too!

  3. Feh! What is Matzav doing printing this story of motzei shem ra from a known liar, a disgraced and disgruntled, war mongering fool? Shame on you! Are you so small minded that you can’t hold back your irrelevant, back-stabbing Trump hatred against a man who has been out of office for over a year? If this is the level you must stoop to then it makes all your self-righteous pleas for help and tzedaka as empty as your own minds and souls.

  4. That is actually the point in favour for Trump. Everyone Trump talked to knew full well he had lines that were not amenable to “political correct” coercion. Trump simply treated them all with the same blanket rules: no war either by us on you or by you on us or our allies), OR ELSE, and, no expansion by us and no expansion by you OR ELSE. And Trump was building up the US economy and strength throughout. No one of them had to feel either privileged to get away with things, nor feel being picked on. Simple person-on-person and human-non-human talk without geography gobbeldy-gook

    Further, the article makes clear that NEWSMAX (unlike the leftist media) has no problem with presenting the opposing view on matters, even from a war-hawk who clearly has issues at being rejected by “no war” Trump.

  5. John Bolton is someone I used to have a lot of respect for but the more he talks, the more he aggravates me. He comes across like a Democrat, like John F Student Kerry, with the attitude I’m more educated than you or I have more “experience” in this area than you, so I could talk and you’re just a low life.

    The bottom line is whatever happened, he’s upset the president didn’t listen to him and as president, that’s his prerogative to listen or not to listen. John Bolton is part of the elite class, those people in DC who think that they are the ones that run the country when in reality it’s the president of the United States. He’s upset at President Trump because Trump put these people in their place.

  6. I despise Trump but you have to give him credit where it’s due . This Ukraine invasion wouldn’t have happened if he were sill president (you can debate the reason why not) The Abraham peace Accords and peace between Serbia-Kosovo etc. wouldn’t happened either if he weren’t president either.

    To be clear I still can’t stand him but in this one area of making peace and avoiding war he was probably the best president since before WWII

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