Trump 'has trouble with women leaders', says ex-adviser John Bolton

25 June 2020, 16:20 | Updated: 25 June 2020, 20:38

Donald Trump's ex-national security adviser John Bolton has told Sky News that the president "has trouble with women leaders".

He said Mr Trump and former British prime minister Theresa May "have very different approaches to politics".

Mr Bolton described his former boss as a "talker" who "likes to talk".

In contrast, he said: "Theresa May is the kind of politician who says what she has to say. And there's not a lot of small talk.

"There's not a lot of back and forth. That's a personal style. Doesn't come anywhere close to Donald Trump's personal style.

"My own opinion, and I can't prove this, I think he has trouble with women leaders."

Mr Bolton also said Mr Trump "had trouble" with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He added: "These are not substantive disagreements. These are personality issues.

"But because of the way Trump looks at relations with other leaders, he has enormous difficulty distinguishing between the personal relationship he has with the leader of another country, and the fundamental US relationship with the other country as a whole."

When asked if the president was sexist, Mr Bolton said: "Time and again, we seemed to run into that difficulty."

But he pointed out that Mr Trump "had bad relationships with plenty of male leaders too".

Mr Bolton also said the Trump leadership had made the crises of coronavirus and racial division in the US worse.

He claimed that the president "didn't want to hear" about COVID-19 in early January when he was told by government officials it was "a potentially huge problem".

Speaking to Sky's Cordelia Lynch, he said: "He didn't want to hear bad news about his buddy, (Chinese President) Xi Jinping.

"He didn't want to hear the truth about China covering up the extent of the threat of the coronavirus. He didn't want to hear about China, maybe not fulfilling its terms under the limited trade deal he negotiated.

"And most important of all he didn't want to hear about potential bad economic news for the United States from a widespread pandemic which would endanger his ticket to re-election."

Mr Bolton also defended his decision not to testify during Mr Trump's impeachment inquiry.

This was despite him claiming Mr Trump directly linked the provision of security assistance for Ukraine with the country's investigation into former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

This was the central allegation that saw the president impeached in the House and later acquitted in the Senate.

Mr Bolton told Sky News: "The House Democrats took the impeachment process right off a cliff and halfway down they looked up and said 'hey come and join us' and I wasn't about to do that."

Mr Bolton has made a series of allegations against the American president in a new tell-all book.

His memoir hit shops this week after a federal judge ruled it could be published despite the White House trying to block the release amid concerns it contained classified information.

The book includes claims that Mr Trump had been unaware that Britain was a nuclear power, that he had sought help from Xi Jinping to win this November's US presidential election, and that Mr Trump had asked if Finland was part of Russia.

On the UK nuclear remark, Mr Bolton said: "I can tell you in that meeting, which was at Chequers hosted by Prime Minister May, when the president made that comment, the stiff British upper lips didn't quiver, but their eyes got wide as saucers.

"And I was sitting there thinking to myself, what do we say next? Then I think Prime Minister May changed the subject fairly quickly."

On the China allegation, Mr Bolton suggested re-election was often put above national security.

He said: "Trump doesn't really have a philosophy or a grand strategy or even policies that he follows.

"It's all about Donald Trump and it follows from that that his re-election is the thing most on his mind.

"In many respects he has a very short attention span. Not when it comes to his re-election. His attention span there is infinite."

And he claimed other world leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's Kim Jong Un "could see through him" during talks.

"I don't think they were overt about it. I think they knew exactly who the mark was on the American side of the table and that over an extended period of time is very damaging potentially for the United States."

Mr Bolton also indicated Mr Trump had made no progress on the question of North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons.

He said: "He got nothing for it after two years of effort. The whole thing came to nothing but a series of photo opportunities, which, with all due respect, I think was entirely predictable."

He accused Mr Trump of being "ignorant" when it comes to foreign policy, including, he claimed, when Mr Trump suggested he could sit down with Iran's leader and strike a nuclear deal in one day.

Mr Bolton said: "It's just not true. So when I think of the prospect of him on the other side of the table from Vladimir Putin negotiating a strategic arms treaty, I'm very worried for the United States."

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Mr Trump has said Mr Bolton "broke the law" in publishing the book and also tweeted he was trying to get even for being fired "like the sick puppy he is!".

But Mr Bolton denied he was potentially selling out his own country by selling the memoir.

The former national security adviser said: "That Donald Trump is upset with me doesn't surprise me at all. His reactions, frankly, have been childish and degrading to the presidency."

Mr Trump said he sacked Mr Bolton last September after 17 months in the White House job. Mr Bolton said it was his own decision to leave the administration.