The John Bolton bombshells landed within minutes of each other on Wednesday afternoon, with The New York Times reporting that the president’s former national security adviser thought the case of impeaching Trump went past Ukraine and extended into Turkey and China and other cases involving favors for companies in countries run by “dictators he liked" (so, there are dictators he doesn’t like?).
Meanwhile the Washington Post reported that Trump directly asked Xi Jinping to help him win the election by buying more wheat and soybeans to lift him in the farmbelt states, and the Wall Street Journal is running an excerpt from The Room Where It Happened where, among other things, Trump praised Xi for his Uyghur concentration camps.
The book is 592 pages, and it’s already #1 on Amazon even before it’s out next week. Trump sued to block publication, with Bill Barr inevitably doing his hopeless dirty work there. He will lose. The book will be published. And the news is already here.
Americans will read or at least hear about how Trump has given the law the finger virtually every day of his presidency, didn’t know that England is a nuclear power, thought invading Venezuela would be “cool” and that Finland was part of Russia. And that Trump was, in Mike Pompeo’s eyes, “so full of shit.” And it’s great that we’re learning this now, five months before the American people render their verdict on this fraud.
On the other hand… why are we just learning this now?
Because John Bolton didn’t have the guts to stand up and say these things when it might have mattered more. Or maybe it was less a matter of guts than cash. His agent and publisher surely leaned on him to save it for the book, and well, it’s #1, so in that sense they were right, but what is that sense, exactly?
It’s the sense in which, in a contest between market and polity, the race isn’t even close. The market will win that race every time in today’s America. The president of the United States has been destroying this country, eroding its decent values every single day of his presidency, until matters have finally reached the point that, through his malevolence and stupidity and lack of empathy, he is actually and literally responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans.
Bolton had a chance to speak up before all those people died from Trump’s selfish incompetence. Of course he couldn’t have known that was coming. But with Trump, something bad was coming. It was inevitable. Maybe with a different roll of the dice, war with Iran. The man is a lunatic, completely in over his head in this job, mentally unstable, and an instrument of national grief just waiting to happen every day. It’s been obvious to everyone for years.
And yet, name me one Republican who has tried to stop him. One. You can’t.
Jeff Flake? He came closest, I guess. He gave a good speech or two. And he endorsed Joe Biden. That was nice. But he didn’t fight to save his party and his country from Trump. He retired.
But Flake was that guy in front of the tanks at Tiananmen Square compared to the rest of them. This includes Bolton. When his country needed him, he said he’d testify if the Senate subpoenaed him, obviously knowing full well that the Senate would never subpoena him. But when his retirement fund needed him, he spoke out. Bravo.
And what about Pompeo? If what’s in this book is true, what does that say about him? He’ll deny he said that about Trump. But Bolton, if he’s smart, and he’s that, surely kept the note. So he thinks his boss is a buffoon? Dangerous? Both, or each, on different days? And yet he hangs in there. Goes along with firing that inspector general.
I’m glad the book is out. We all should be. Pecuniary motive aside, I suppose it takes a little bit of kishkes for Bolton to say these things. Trump is the president, and he’s vindictive and mean and absolutely small-minded enough to find some way to make Bolton’s life difficult. And if it contributes to Trump’s demise, I’m all for it.
And meanwhile, let’s turn the focus here on Trump. I don’t know if it’s illegal to ask President Xi to make wheat and soybean purchases to help him in Michigan and wherever else. But it’s certainly unethical and appalling and un-American. Trump is always talking about how the great MAGA majority, roaring back into our brains this Saturday in Tulsa, is going to save him in November, assuming they don’t all die first from TrumpRallyVirus. But if he’s so certain that’s going to happen, why does he lean on dictators to cheat for him?
Because cheating is his way. That man would steal a shilling from Tiny Tim and brag about it. So what happens between now and November, when Pompeo and Mark Meadows and others witness more cheating; more obviously unethical or even illegal acts? Because it’s going to happen. Are they just going to watch him rape the Constitution, murder democracy, and steal an election while staying silent, and saving it for their memoirs?
I’m looking for one honest soul here. It seems to be too much to ask.