John Bolton Says Trump Has ‘Simple-Minded Ideas’ About ‘How World Works’

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton told MSNBC that Donald Trump sees the world from a “simple-minded” perspective and has no political philosophy. Bolton, who served during the Trump administration, said his former boss does not think in policy terms but “anecdotal, ad hoc, and transactional” terms while focusing on his own interests.

Bolton referenced Trump’s frequent remarks about his excellent relationship with foreign leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. While he conceded that positive personal relationships are essential, Mr. Bolton insists that Putin and Xi have their country’s interests at heart regardless of how well they admire others personally. “Donald Trump doesn’t have a clue,” Bolton said.

Furthermore, the security expert claimed that Trump doesn’t understand the importance of international alliances, specifically with other Western nations. He said the former President and GOP candidate believes the US defends Europe and sees this as a one-way relationship. He added that America’s NATO membership is in its best interests. “To get out of it will cause negative consequences for the United States you can’t even imagine,” he warned.

The Trump administration tried to block the publication of a 2020 tell-all book by John Bolton, in which he fiercely criticized the controversial former President. Trump’s attorneys argued that the book’s content was a national security risk, but a judge dismissed the claim.

In the book, Bolton stated that Trump had long planned to take the US out of NATO and asked China’s Xi Jinping to help him win the 2020 election by increasing Chinese purchases of American farm products.

In a 2024 republication of the book The Room Where It Happened, Bolton wrote a new introduction and cautioned that a second Trump administration would be much “worse” than the first. He describes the Republican candidate as entirely self-interested and warned that he will seek retribution against his enemies if re-elected.

Trump adviser Jason Miller accused Bolton of getting rich by “grifting” off his relationship with Mr. Trump.