President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton has made a complete break with the Trump administration. Trump has tried to discredit Bolton, but considering Trump’s own long history of brazenly lying, his attempts to pressure Bolton out of the spotlight are not exactly credible or effective. This weekend during an appearance on CBS’s Face The Nation, Bolton discussed issues including where the president gets his information, and he helped shine a light on just how obsessed that Trump is with a particular “information” source: the television. Trump is an obsessive television watcher, Bolton indicated, although one might hope that a president of the United States might occupy themselves with other tasks.
Host Margaret Brennan asked:
‘Does the president and his thinking get more shaped by television or government advisers?’
Bolton didn’t actually point to any role for government advisers in the president’s thinking at all. Instead, he cited the television and political allies of the president who are outside of government as instrumental to the president’s thinking.
‘Well I think it’s a combination of television and listening to people outside the government that he trusts for one reason or another. I think that if you could clock the amount of time he’s spent actually in the Oval Office versus the amount of time he spends in the little dining room off the Oval Office with the cable news networks of one form or another on, it would be a very interesting statistic.’
.@AmbJohnBolton tells @margbrennan “It would be a very interesting statistic,” if one were to “clock the amount of time” that @realDonaldTrump spends in the Oval Office and in his private dining room, where Bolton says Trump watches cable news pic.twitter.com/udQJpKLkF8
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) July 5, 2020
This interview is definitely not the first occasion in which the president’s refusal to do serious work and concurrent obsession with the television have been on full display. Way back towards the beginning of 2019, someone leaked around three months of the president’s private schedules, and around 60 percent of the scheduled time was taken up by dubiously named “executive time,” which no doubt included a whole lot of watching television.
When those schedules leaked, Trump tried to convince observers that he actually works very diligently. Does he think that we can’t all see the tweets that he posts at just about all hours of the day and night? At the time, Trump tweeted:
‘The media was able to get my work schedule, something very easy to do, but it should have been reported as a positive, not negative. When the term Executive Time is used, I am generally working, not relaxing. In fact, I probably work more hours than almost any past President.’
Nonsensical self-aggrandizement isn’t exactly convincing.
The media was able to get my work schedule, something very easy to do, but it should have been reported as a positive, not negative. When the term Executive Time is used, I am generally working, not relaxing. In fact, I probably work more hours than almost any past President…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2019
Trump has been similarly vehement in his attacks against Bolton.
Recently, he tweeted:
‘Wow, I finally agree with failed political consultant Steve Schmidt, who called Wacko John Bolton “a despicable man who failed in his duty to protect America.” Also stated that he should never be allowed to serve in government again. So true!’
…..who was all washed up until I brought him back and gave him a chance, broke the law by releasing Classified Information (in massive amounts). He must pay a very big price for this, as others have before him. This should never to happen again!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2020
Bolton is one of a significant number of former members of Trump’s administration who have written books describing their time there. Bolton’s memoir came out recently; called The Room Where It Happened, the Trump administration sued to try and block the book, but they were unsuccessful.