Former National Security Advisor John Bolton is publishing a charity book against Donald Trump. Before it was released on June 23, excuses were made from harmful charges on Wednesday. Decryption.
On Wednesday, June 17, the American press published new sections from John Bolton’s forthcoming book, “The Room Where It Happened, A White House Memoir” (literally: “The Room Where It Happened, Memories from the White House”). Former national security advisers want to highlight “fundamentally unacceptable behavior [de Donald Trump] which complicates the legitimacy of the presidency. “This former close friend of the US president, in particular, accuses him of asking the Chinese president for help in being re-elected in November.
Will these accusations be a definitive blow to the reelection of Donald Trump? Decryption in three issues with Jean-Éric Branaa, lecturer at Panthéon-Assas Paris II University and specialist in American politics.
France 24: How do these new charges apply?
Jean-Éric Branaa:They will strike a new blow to the presidency. Already in January 2018, Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury”, had made a lot of noise. He supported the thesis that Donald Trump was a free electron in the White House without being able to control the country. A few months later, there was the book by Bob Woodward, the reporter who revealed Watergate [“Peur : Trump à la Maison Blanche”, qui dresse le portrait d’un présidentcolérique et paranoïaque, NDLR]
John Bolton’s reach is stronger because he was very close to the US president and power. He was part of the handful of men who decided, saw and heard everything. This book has an extraordinary strength of authenticity and closeness, which can be explosive.
Donald Trump objected to the publication of this book early. The Senate also opposed it. In February he had the opportunity to hear John Bolton as part of the removal procedure. As a reminder, John Bolton had refused to be heard by the House of Representatives. The Senate could force it, but did not – except for one vote. The revelations could have been accused in the investigation in a dismissal hearing. We say that by reading the pages we can possibly read what should have been this deposit in the Senate.
France 24: John Bolton announced the publication of this book several months ago. The US media had already published some excerpts in January. Why are these new revelations coming now?
Jean-Éric Branaa:The publication of the book was postponed with the cancellation process [l’acquittement de Donald Trump a été prononcé par le Sénatle 5 février dernier, NDLR] Then there was the health crisis. In addition, lawyers from the White House have worked hard to prevent the book from being released.
In this calendar, the book’s revelations are very important, especially with regard to China. Because with Covid-19, Donald Trump’s campaign against China was redirected. His whole speech therefore consisted in accusing this country of all evil and making its democratic opponent Joe Biden an ally of China.
But John Bolton explains exactly in these excerpts that the president negotiated with China to be re-elected. In January, it was unexpectedly learned that Beijing had agreed to buy tens of billions of dollars of US agricultural products. At the same time, Donald Trump did not stop praising China’s President Xi Jinping and his leadership of the health crisis. Everyone was surprised by this flip-flop and through John Bolton we now make the link. In a few sentences, he destroyed Donald Trump’s campaign against China and anti-Biden.
France 24: Exactly, in the face of these new accusations, what does the rest of the US presidential campaign look like?
Jean-Éric Branaa:Donald Trump is in a completely black series. He left the idea that his re-election would be easy, but Covid-19 led the campaign in chaos. He had organized his world in a binary way, with his friends on one side, his enemies on the other, and the economy to arbitrate all this. All this is turned upside down by a health crisis linked to an economic crisis. We do not see how this could be resolved in November. Let’s not forget that Donald Trump is a businessman who based everything on the idea of returning wealth to the United States.
Add to this a social crisis surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement, which the president cannot handle either, and the jumps from moderate Republicans, who are increasingly criticizing him. The US president is becoming more and more isolated and unable to campaign.
First, last week, the Republican Party decided to reproduce the 2016 program identically. He had trouble keeping the convention that must invest in Donald Trump. [Pour des raisons de distanciation sociale, la convention républicaine prévue en août a dû être réorganisée et se tiendra à Charlotte, en Caroline du Nord, mais aussi à Jacksonville, en Floride, NDLR].
Then Donald Trump sees that Joe Biden has a boulevard in front of him. He led an extraordinary primary campaign and is over 2,000 delegates today. He joined the Democratic camp, between the moderates and the progressives, by working with Bernie Sanderset Elizabeth Warren. The Democratic Party is now in close range. Despite the charges in the Tara Reade case, no one stepped up to attack Joe Biden. With the Black Lives Matter movement, his campaign started again.
Before that, Donald Trump is completely trapped because the health crisis never ends. But he started meetings when the coronavirus doubled in the country: he wanted a big meeting with 30,000 people in Tulsa, Oklahoma, next week. It sounds inconsistent and crazy. At the end of the campaign, its deterrents will look at the pollution figures. If the curve goes up, the opinion will say that it is criminal. The political risk is therefore enormous.