Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton roasted his former boss, Donald Trump, over his administration’s legacy in the Russia-Ukraine conflict during an appearance Monday night on the far-right Newsmax network, leaving host Rob Schmitt thoroughly gobsmacked.
Bolton immediately shut down Schmitt’s rhetoric that many of Trump’s loyal base has been pushing: that America was safer during his time in office, and he would have been tougher on Vladimir Putin than President Joe Biden. Trump did not “handle Russia better than President Joe Biden”, as Schmitt asserted, and listed off a series of qualms he had about how Trump dealt with Putin. “We didn’t sanction Nord Stream 2,” Bolton began, referring to the Russian offshore natural gas pipeline running to Germany under the Baltic Sea, which was officially canceled last week by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “We should have,” Bolton continued. “We should have brought the project to an end.”
Bolton went on to mention sanctions the Trump administration did enact on some Russian oligarchs, but then revealed just how little his former boss knew not just about foreign diplomacy, but world geography as well. “In almost every case, the sanctions were imposed with Trump complaining about it and saying we were being too hard,” Bolton said. “The fact is that he barely knew where Ukraine was. He once asked John Kelly, his second chief of staff, if Finland were a part of Russia. It’s just not accurate to say that Trump’s behavior somehow deterred the Russians.”
John Bolton pushes back on Newsmax host: "[Trump] barely knew where Ukraine was…It's just not accurate to say that Trump's behavior somehow deterred the Russians" pic.twitter.com/ICRmmeJ8C3
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) March 1, 2022
Trump and his GOP allies in recent days have repeatedly suggested that Putin would not have launched the attack on Ukraine if Trump was still in office. But Ukraine was an issue that permeated his four years in office, as Putin was fueling a war in eastern Ukraine throughout Trump’s tenure. And Trump was also impeached the first time for withholding $400 million in military aid after he failed to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into launching an investigation into then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, over baseless allegations of corruption.
NEWSMAX: “Trump was tough on Russia.”
🔥 TRUMP NAT SEC ADVISOR JOHN BOLTON: “NO HE WASN’T… he didn’t even know where Ukraine was. He was incompetent. Unfit to be president.”
Bolton shatters the illusion as Newsmax flashes Opposite Day graphics, trying to rewrite history. pic.twitter.com/atiAbHxk5d
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) March 1, 2022
But Trump also routinely praised Putin and behaved in ways that experts say “emboldened” the Russian dictator, jeopardizing national security. In perhaps the most infamous example, Trump appeared to side with Putin over the US intelligence community in July 2018 on the subject of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. More recently, Trump lauded Putin’s justification for invading Ukraine as “genius” and “savvy.”
John Bolton sets Newsmax host straight. Says Trump wasn’t tough on Russia at all, and he “barely knew where Ukraine was”. pic.twitter.com/MhBrOQnrl9
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) March 1, 2022
Watch Bolton’s interview, below.