The Trump administration has sued to block John Bolton's White House memoir for being an alleged threat to national security—but the book portrays the "erratic" President Trump himself as the real threat to national security, according to the New York Times and other outlets that have received advance copies of The Room Where It Happened. Bolton's book is a "withering portrait of a president ignorant of even basic facts about the world, susceptible to transparent flattery by authoritarian leaders manipulating him and prone to false statements, foul-mouthed eruptions and snap decisions that aides try to manage or reverse," according to the Times. Some of the more stunning revelations:
- Trump asked Xi to help him get re-elected: When China's President Xi Jinping complained about China's critics in the US during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit last year, Trump thought he was talking about Democrats, Bolton says, per the AP. "He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming US presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win," Bolton writes. "He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome." He adds: "I would print Trump’s exact words but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise."
- 'You're the greatest': Xi agreed that to restart the trade talks, welcoming Trump’s concession that there would be no new tariffs and agreeing that the two negotiating teams should resume discussions on farm products on a priority basis, Bolton writes, per the Wall Street Journal. Trump then told Xi: "You're the greatest Chinese leader in 300 years!" Bolton describes Trump's conversations with Xi as just one example of how the president "commingled the personal and the national not just on trade questions but across the whole field of national security."