President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton has some staggering revelations about the president’s behavior in his new book, which is scheduled to be released on June 23. In his new memoir covering his time in the White House, Bolton reveals — among other things — that Trump apparently tried to get Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him with his re-election effort. According to Bolton, during a one-on-one meeting between Trump and Xi in June 2019, Trump “turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capacity to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win.”
Trump’s point, Bolton explains, was to try and get China to increase their purchases of U.S. agricultural products as part of an effort to improve Trump’s political standing with farming communities. Bolton writes:
‘[Trump] stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump’s exact words but the government’s prepublication review has decided otherwise.’
The Trump administration has filed a lawsuit trying to block Bolton’s book from publication. It’s unclear if that lawsuit will have even a hint of success — the book’s scheduled release date is just days away, and now, information contained in its pages is already making it out to the world.
Across the rest of his new book, according to The Washington Post and other publications, Bolton reveals an array of episodes that reveal Trump as both desperately incompetent and determined to keep his focus on his own political career, at the expense of basic competence, careful consideration of policy plans, and more.
According to a piece adapted from his book that Bolton published in the Wall Street Journal just this week, Trump took his self-obsession so far that he glibly discussed the possibility of doing away with presidential term limits while speaking with the Chinese president.
‘One highlight came when Xi said he wanted to work with Trump for six more years, and Trump replied that people were saying that the two-term constitutional limit on presidents should be repealed for him. Xi said the U.S. had too many elections, because he didn’t want to switch away from Trump, who nodded approvingly.’
That remark certainly sounds like something Trump would say — many of his public statements are full of claims about what “people are saying,” with very rare explanations of who those supposed “people” actually are. Trump has also publicly discussed the possibility of serving for longer than the legal limit of two terms for presidents, which was instituted after Franklin D. Roosevelt won a fourth term. He’s sometimes tried to pass off these discussions as “jokes,” but discussing disposing of a basic legal precedent of Constitutional order in the United States is not a “joke.”
Bolton summarizes that he is “hard pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculation” — which again fits with the president’s public behavior. Trying to protect his public image and political career is the president’s priority.