Tag Archives: Bolton

Bolton’s Revelations And The Pandemic

Leaks from John Bolton’s book, The Room Where It Happened” have given the media lots of material. It’s hard to escape headlines trumpeting the “eight most stunning” revelations (or whatever number of “stunning revelations” has been chosen by the person writing that particular book review). 

Most of the commentary has accompanied the disclosures with the (obligatory and undeniable)  observation that Bolton’s refusal to share what he knew with the House impeachment managers was despicable–undoubtedly motivated by choosing anticipated profit from book sales over an opportunity to rid the country of a clear and present danger.

But it took Heather Cox Richardson to point out the single most horrifying disclosure, worse even than Trump’s encouragement of Chinese concentration camps.

Richardson points out that Trump’s desperate desire to protect the trade deal with China–a deal that he thought would  would “smooth the way” for his reelection–  delayed the administration’s response to the coronavirus and the pandemic that has now claimed the lives of more Americans than died in WWI.

She reminds us of the timeline: on January 15, Trump and Xi inked a trade deal that required China to increase purchases of U.S. products by at least $200 billion over 2017 levels. January, as we now know, was when the first signs of the pandemic arose.

At the same time, news of the coronavirus was spreading. Trump praised Xi’s handling of the virus and claimed it had been contained. On January 22, he tweeted: “One of the many great things about our just signed giant Trade Deal with China is that it will bring both the USA & China closer together in so many other ways. Terrific working with President Xi, a man who truly loves his country. Much more to come!” And on January 24, as the devastation of the novel coronavirus came clearer, he wrote: “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”

When the pandemic tanked the U.S. economy, the trade deal made less of a difference, and Trump’s close engagement with China just as the pandemic was breaking out suddenly became a liability that Biden was quick to hit. Trump turned on China, blaming it for the virus, and then took the US out of the World Health Organization, saying the WHO was responsible for the pandemic because it had been too willing to trust the Chinese.

Bottom line: Trump’s responsibility for the pandemic goes well beyond his (and, remember, Bolton’s) knee-jerk decision to eliminate the pandemic task force that had been established by Obama. It goes beyond Trump’s lies about the federal “cupboard” being “bare,” beyond the administration’s incredible mismanagement of the resources that remained at the federal government’s disposal, and even beyond the lies about phony “cures” and the likely, warm-weather disappearance of the virus.

Think about this: In order to protect his chances of re-election, Donald Trump was perfectly willing to ignore a deadly threat to the lives of American citizens. 

If people had to die in order to ensure his re-election, well, so be it. The other revelations pale in comparison.

This shouldn’t come as a shock, of course. Trump’s insistence on holding a rally in Tulsa–without masks and social distancing–confirms everything we suspected about Trump’s concern for the life and health of American citizens–even those who support him.

It’s non-existent.

This Isn’t Making Us Safe

The Senate has now confirmed Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, despite deeply disturbing reports of his longstanding Islamophobia. Nothing like having a man with a well-deserved reputation for decidedly undiplomatic bigotry as the country’s chief diplomat. I’m sure his disdain for the world’s largest religion will serve him especially well in negotiations in the Middle East…

At least Pompeo understands–or seems to understand–that religious hatred is not generally considered a positive qualification for the job at hand, and he has downplayed it.

Not so John Bolton. Trump’s choice of a National Security Advisor is an even more obvious mental case than the current occupant of the Oval Office. His disdain for the United Nations, his preference for war over diplomacy (and the short fuse that impels him to favor military action at the drop of anyone’s hat) are well known. Less well known is his fixation with–and hatred of– Islam.

Dispatches from the Culture Wars has the story:

NBC News has an article about the Gatestone Institute, headed until he took the job as National Security Adviser by John Bolton for the last four years. Gatestone is one of the lesser-known but best-funded of a web of Islamophobic groups that push white supremacist rhetoric about how Muslims are going to destroy white European hegemony through immigration.

The Gatestone Institute is a New York-based “advocacy group.” It issues warnings about the looming “jihadist takeover” of Europe, which will lead to a “Great White Death.” The post quotes NBC News:

The group has published numerous stories and headlines on its website with similar themes. “Germany Confiscating Homes to Use for Migrants,” warned one from May 2017, about a single apartment rental property in Hamburg that had gone into temporary trusteeship. Another from February 2015 claimed the immigrants, for instance Somalis, in Sweden were turning that country into the “Rape Capital of the West.”…

Some of the group’s work was widely distributed, including a claim about Muslim-controlled “no-go zones” in France that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz cited in an op-ed article during the 2016 Republican presidential primary campaign.

Gatestone’s president, Sears Roebuck heiress Nina Rosenwald, said in an email that Bolton was not involved in any of the articles and that Gatestone has no knowledge of Russian trolls having promoted its work.

Rosenwald emailed numerous links to support Gatestone’s claims, including a number in French and German. One entry flagged as documenting “warring Muslim gangs” in Marseille, France, when translated into English, says only that the city had deployed specialized police officers to a high-crime area, with no mention of warring Muslims.

Speaking of disinformation and dishonesty, Bolton wrote the foreword to a book by Pam Geller, who co-chairs an equally disreputable White Supremacist group with Robert Spencer, Stop the Islamization of America. Geller has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “one of the most flamboyant anti-Muslim activists in the United States.” She routinely bashes Islam and Muslims on her blog (titled “Atlas Shrugs”), and is a regular contributor to Breitbart.

Bolton and Pompeo: Trump’s “best people”–working hard to make the world safe for White Christians.

Forgive me if I don’t feel very secure.