Former national security adviser John Bolton slammed President Donald Trump’s style of negotiating with other world leaders as “naive and foolish,” saying that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin can “see right through” the President, CBS News reported.
Bolton told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett that Trump’s affinity for authoritarian leaders stemmed from his own desire to be seen as a “big guy.”
“I think the president likes being a big guy, you know, doing big guy things, and then he had to come down later to being merely a constitutional president of the most powerful country in the world,” Bolton said.
He spoke to Garrett for this week’s episode of “The Takeout” podcast, which will air in its entirety on CBSN on Friday and Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.
“I do think Putin and Xi Jinping, I read them across the table, and I’ve been across the table from Putin many times in 20 years. I think they could see right through Donald Trump. When one of them was on the other side, it was not a fair fight,” he continued.
Bolton criticized Trump for believing he could “make deals on major issues in a day’s worth of negotiations.”
“He and Kim Jong Un could sit down on the North Korea program and he and the Ayatollah Khamenei could sit down on Iran and could wrap it up in a day. You know, the Munchkins could work out the details. That’s the way he does things,” Bolton said about Trump’s style of negotiating. “Big picture, big guy talking to the big guy. I think this is naive and foolish frankly.”
The President has met with Kim three times, and became the first American president to step foot in North Korea. Nuclear talks between the two leaders have stalled for months. The President has not met with Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran. Bolton, a longtime foreign policy official, is known for his hardline views on Iran.
His new memoir documenting his time in the White House, “The Room Where It Happened,” is published by Simon & Schuster, a division of ViacomCBS.
Bolton also talked about his refusal to participate in the House impeachment inquiry late last year. He refused to testify before the House unless under subpoena, but House Democrats declined to issue one, fearing the issue would get tied up in the courts.
The White House would have likely objected to his testimony, and Democrats were concerned that a decision would be delayed for months.