Richard Grenell Puts On the Gloves and Smacks John Bolton Around

AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic
AP featured image
In this photo taken Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump’s envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Ambassador Richard Grenell listens Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic during a press conference after their meeting, in Belgrade, Serbia. Grenell urged the new Kosovo government to abolish punitive tariffs on Serbian goods that have blocked negotiations between the two Balkan rivals. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)


John Bolton’s new book isn’t making the waves he was hoping. Sure, the usual suspects in media are lapping it up like thirsty puppies, but as I wrote yesterday, he’s not receiving the #resistance coronation others before him have. Amazingly, the left and right have both found something they can mostly agree on, i.e. a hearty dislike for Bolton, regardless of what he says.

On that note, Richard Grenell laid into Bolton today and held very little back.

“Well, first of all, let’s talk about his reputation at the NSC. He ran an NSC that leaked like crazy,” Grenell began. “Everything that happened leaked out of the NSC. Is it no surprise that somehow all of these stories didn’t leak when everything else was leaking.”

“I have to say, everyone should be troubled by someone who was unwilling to testify under oath but then is willing to speak under a book deal, and to me this is exactly what’s happening,” Grenell continued.

The fact that Bolton ran and hid during impeachment, refusing to testify under oath when originally called by the House, is obviously why the left still can’t stand him. They saw him as the silver bullet ready to take down President Trump. Instead, he leaked some out of context descriptions of his book to fuel the fire. That was never going to be enough and Democrats will never forgive him for it, to the extent that they would have anyway given they’ve always hated his guts.


Grenell went on to deal with more important aspects of Bolton’s tenure, aspects I pointed out in past pieces. Namely, that Bolton is a conniving, selfish figure who only cared about trying to run his own foreign policy against the wishes of the administrations he served.

Grenell then highlighted policy problems that the administration allegedly had with Bolton, saying, “To want to start a war with Iran when you’re the national security adviser for the president who ran on bringing our troops home, who ran on trying to stop endless wars, and to talk to the North Koreans instead of picking fights, this is yet another contradiction for Bolton.”

“He didn’t want to talk to the North Koreans, he is somebody who would rather pick the fights and push the policy in a very direct way,” Grenell continued. “That wasn’t President Trump, he wanted to make sure that we weren’t going to go into wars.”

Grenell added, “I’ve got my own situation going on because of John Bolton being different than what the president was. When it comes to Kosovo and Serbia, we’re having both of those two together at the White House next Saturday to talk about historic movement and agreement, and yet I am fighting constantly about this rumor about land swaps between the two, and that’s not Trump’s policy. But when you dig deep, both sides say that’s what John Bolton said. And so I’m fighting all of the rumors that persisted because Bolton was pursuing his own policy rather than President Trump’s policy.”

Bolton famously rattled his saber at North Korea, almost blowing the talks some years back when he cited the “Libya model” publicly, something that was absolutely disastrous under Barack Obama. But that’s how Bolton thinks. He’s the truest form of neoconservative, solely focusing on whatever country he wants to bomb next while rarely taking any unintended consequences into account.


Pursing one’s own policy has been a common theme of the foreign policy establishment during the Trump era. That Bolton would engage in such is hardly surprising. You’ll recall that it wasn’t any of the salacious stories in his book that ultimately caused Bolton to leave the White House. Rather, it was Bolton’s ridiculous insistence on continuing to wage war in Syria. In the end, none of the doomsday proclamations of genocide or mass war came true.

That’s the failure of neoconservatism in a nutshell and Bolton was its most devoted disciple. Any heat he’s now taking is well deserved.



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