Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mocked President Trump behind his back and Attorney General Bill Barr shared his concerns, according to the blockbuster book by former National Security Advisor John Bolton.
On Wednesday, both The New York Times and The Washington Post obtained copies of the tome, ‘The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,’ which the Trump administration had tried to block from bookstores with a week to go before its release, filing a Tuesday lawsuit.
The book largely characterizes Trump’s staff as knowing better than the president and talking behind his back, like the time Bolton was passed a note by Pompeo amid the June 2018 Singapore summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
‘He is so full of s***,’ the note read, Bolton wrote.
In public, Pompeo has portrayed himself as the loyal servant – as has Barr. In private, when Bolton approached Barr to discuss the president’s behavior – especially toward autocratic rulers like China’s President Xi Jinping and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – the attorney general admitted he, too, was worried.
Former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s new book ‘The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,’ reveals that President Trump’s advisers are talking behind his back, expressing shock and concern
PASSING NOTES: John Bolton (left) recalled that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (second from left) slipped him a note during the June 2018 Singapore summit with the North Korea delegation that said President Trump (center left) was ‘so full of s***’
After President Trump seemed to capitulate to the leaders of China and Turkey, John Bolton wrote that he met with Attorney General Bill Barr (pictured), who told Bolton that he was worried with how the president presented himself
On Wednesday, The New York Times and The Washington Post obtained copies of John Bolton’s book, to be released Tuesday
The takeaway from Bolton’s book was that Trump, despite trying to convey strength, was a shallow, paranoid and indecisive leader.
‘He second-guessed people’s motives, saw conspiracies behind rocks and remained stunningly uninformed on how to run the White House, let alone the huge federal government,’ Bolton wrote.
Trump led using ‘personal instinct,’ Bolton went on, and looked for opportunities for ‘reality TV showmanship.’
Bolton, the president’s third national security adviser, pointed to the president’s diplomacy with North Korea as a prime example.
Bolton, who had worked for President Reagan and in both Bush administrations, called Trump’s first meeting with Kim in Singapore ‘an exercise in publicity.’
‘Trump told … me he was prepared to sign a substance-free communique, have his press conference to declare victory and then get out of town,’ Bolton wrote.
Behind-the-scenes, Bolton captures Pompeo being appalled.
He described a call between Trump and the president of South Korea as they prepared for the June 2018 summit.
Both Bolton and Pompeo, according to Bolton, were upset with how Trump handled the conversation.
Pompeo, Bolton described, said he was ‘having a cardiac arrest in Saudi Arabia,’ as he was listening to the call while traveling in the Middle East.
Bolton, likewise, said the call was a ‘near death experience.’
After the summit, Bolton claimed Trump became transfixed with getting Kim a copy of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ CD, signed by the artist.
Prior to their first meeting, Trump had called Kim ‘Little Rocket Man,’ when the North Korean leader would conduct unsanctioned nuclear experiments.
Bolton criticized Trump for not being able to grasp that Pompeo wouldn’t be meeting with Kim during every trip he made to North Korea.
After one Kim-less trip, Bolton recalled Trump asking Pompeo if he’d handed the North Korean leader the CD.
‘Pompeo had not,’ Bolton wrote. ‘Getting this CD to Kim remained a high priority for several months.’