John Bolton’s tell-all book, “The Room Where It Happened” was released Tuesday. One reviewer said that the details of high stakes foreign diplomacy, as blundered through by Donald Trump, “are reported in the unadorned, matter-of-fact prose that you might use in an email about pet food options or car repairs, are shocking for their ordinariness.” I personally am going to read this book, because as nuts as we all know it has been these past three years, Bolton was actually there for 453 days and so he is speaking with an authority that a lot of books on the Trump administration can’t claim. What struck me in reading the following review, is that this situation is so grotesquely out of control that if Trump wasn’t mentally ill, he wouldn’t even be attempting to do what he’s doing. We have a mentally ill game show host, surrounded by a school of Republican sharks, with their own agendas, in charge of the levers of government. And just reading this, I frankly marvel that the United States has neither been invaded, nor have we not declared war on another country. Maybe it’s divine intervention keeping us safe, because with this going on, there is no logic or reason to explain why things have not literally blown up with a warmonger advising a blithering idiot. The Dispatch: Pompeo released a statement insisting that Trump was an eager and attentive consumer of intelligence. Trump canceled his morning briefings the following day because he’d “stayed up well into the night” watching television coverage of congressional testimony of his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. When he met with his national security team, he asked “whether it was a bigger story if we got a small deal or we walked away [in Korea]”—and Bolton was happy to nudge the president toward walking away. After his initial meetings with Kim in Hanoi, Trump used a short break in the talks and “immediately switched on Fox News to see how the late-night shows were covering Cohen’s testimony, as well as events in Hanoi.” When the talks restarted, Trump wondered aloud whether North Korea’s media was as frustrating as his own. “Does the press give you a hard time?” he asked Kim. As Bolton reports: “Somewhat stunned, Kim said, ‘That’s an obvious question. I don’t have that burden,’ and laughed.” If the chief strength of Bolton’s book is this kind of in-the-room detail, its main weakness is the unresolved tension between the two competing narratives that shape the text. In one, Bolton makes the case that Trump is far too crazy to serve as president of the United States and leader of the free world. In the other, Bolton advances the kinds of aggressive policy arguments that have contributed to his reputation as a hawk (among admirers) or a warmonger (among detractors). The obvious question: If Trump is crazy, do we want him leading the country into high-stakes military confrontations with adversaries and rogue states, some of them with advanced nuclear programs? For Bolton, the answer is—or was, anyway—yes. “I explained why and how a preemptive strike against North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic-missile programs would work; how we could use massive conventional bombs against Pyongyang’s artillery north of the DMZ, which threatened Seoul, thereby reducing casualties dramatically,” Bolton writes, describing an early argument he […]
Poor Mike Pence. Despite all the adoring glances at Trump, all the bad play acting, and notwithstanding his suffocating sycophantcy, Jared and Ivanka were working on ways to boot him off the 2020 ticket and replace him with Nikki Haley, according to John Bolton’s tell-all. It looks to be a good read, showcasing both the idiocy and treachery of this administration, if the tidbits below are any indication. Raw Story: “Trump also arose “early,” although it was already afternoon Iraq time, and we spent a fair amount of time in his office chatting away because so few others were up yet. We ranged from what he would say to the Army and Marine troops at al-Asad and in the State of the Union address in January, to sending a New Year’s greeting to Xi Jinping and whether Trump should get the Nobel Peace Prize,” Bolton recalled. “White House gossip was common that Ivanka and Kushner favored this approach, which tied in with Haley’s leaving her position as UN Ambassador in December 2018, thus allowing her to do some politicking around the country before being named to the ticket in 2020. The political argument in Haley’s favor was that she could win back women voters alienated from Trump. By contrast, it was said, the evangelicals supporting Pence had nowhere else to go in 2020, so their votes were not at risk if Haley took his place. I explained it was a bad idea to jettison someone loyal, and that doing so risked alienating people he needed (who could stay home, even if they didn’t vote for Trump’s opponent) without necessarily generating new support because of the replacement. That seemed to be Trump’s thinking as well.” At the time, Haley denied the rumors, saying Pence had her support. “Certainly, there have been a number of people telling people in the White House, including the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump, that Nikki Haley would be a politically smart choice to replace Pence,” Axios reporter Jonathan Swan reported. “So this is partly why a lot of these rumors have been circulating.” Now factor this in: Nick Ayers, Pence’s chief of staff was asked to work on Trump’s reelection campaign but he demurred, saying that he wanted to work on Nikki Haley’s 2024 campaign. What would be a better set up for a presidential run for Haley in 2024 than if she was already Vice President? Just speculating. Mike Pence’s biographer reported “that’s all real,” nearly a year later during an MSNBC appearance in Sept. 2019. “These are fealty tests, these are loyalty tests,” said journalist Tom LoBianco. “For some of them they feel it is incredibly demeaning of him, and it goes to this point of him playing the long game. He has to survive, you know, the talk … about Jared (Kushner) and Ivanka (Trump), ways to get rid of him. Politically, you need to bring back suburban voters and women.” Pence’s political career was on life support when Trump put him on the ticket in 2016 purportedly at Melania’s behest, according to her recent biography. She made the decision to choose Pence over Newt Gingrich or Chris Christie, because she thought he would be content in a number two position and not gun for the top job. It would have been […]
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