One major detail about John Bolton’s forthcoming book that we’ve learned is that Bolton attempts to paint President Trump as being soft on China. In one leaked excerpt of the manuscript, Bolton accuses Trump of “begging” Chinese leader Xi Jinping for help getting him reelected.
But Bolton’s accusations conflict with past public statements regarding Trump and China. During a 2019 Wall Street Journal Chief Financial Officer Conference, Bolton lauded Trump for “reversing” previous presidents’ “surrendering” to China.
“So Xi Jinping ultimately does what? How does this play out? What does Xi Jinping do to satisfy U.S. demands?” Wall Street Journal Associate Editor John Bussey asked Bolton.
“I think they’re still absorbing the fact that we’re not accepting that they get to play by different rules. You cannot say that we’re living in a free-trade world when one of the major economic powers is pursuing unabashedly mercantilist policies inside the structure of what should be a free trade organization,” Bolton said.
“You can’t say that somehow, Donald Trump is violating principles of free trade when he is trying to deal with an economic power that couldn’t care less about free trade. Now, will the Chinese change that? I don’t know, but are we going to live with it forever?”
Bolton continued, “Is the argument, well my goodness, you can’t do this, you can’t do that because China holds all this U.S. debt? That sort of formulation which we’ve heard for years is a path to surrender. I just think that’s been a mistake, and I think President Trump has reversed that. So, as you play that out, it’s really now, for the Chinese to say, jeez they found out about us, and now, what are we gonna do?” Bolton said.
“Or the Chinese do what they’ve done which is play rope-a-dope, wait it out, another election, another president, another round of negotiations,” Bussey suggested.
But Bolton insisted Trump would stay strong on China.
“Good luck with that,” Bolton said, laughing. “Let’s put it this way: if President Trump wins, which we’re certainly planning on, do they think they’re going to get better terms in the second term? I wouldn’t count on that.”
As Natalie Winters of The National Pulse notes, “the excerpts of Bolton’s book appear to renege on this explicit endorsement of President Trump’s China approach.”
John Bolton received a $2 million advance from Simon & Schuster for his tell-all book. Like other books the left believed would end Trump’s presidency, Bolton’s seems to rely on fictions designed to secure a lucrative book deal rather than the facts. When a major claim of Bolton’s book is contradicted by past public praise of Trump’s approach to dealing with China, it casts a cloud of doubt over everything alleged in its pages. It’s very likely that we’ll see other claims made in the book contradicted by Bolton himself before he had an ax to grind and a financial incentive to tell stories that the liberal media would be crawling all over each other to give him free publicity for.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis