Updated Jun 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

John Bolton tells ABC he hopes Trump is a one-term president

Former national security advisor John Bolton told ABC News he hopes history will remember President Trump "as a one-term president who didn't plunge the country irretrievably into a downward spiral we can't recall from."

Details: In an interview with ABC's Martha Raddatz, broadcast Sunday night, Bolton said, "We can get over one term — I have absolute confidence, even if it's not the miracle of a conservative Republican being elected in November. Two terms, I'm more troubled about." But he made clear he would not vote for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

  • "I don't think he's a conservative Republican. I'm not going to vote for him in November — certainly not going to vote for Joe Biden either," Bolton said, per ABC News. "I'm going to figure out a conservative Republican to vote in."

Of note: The interview was broadcast soon after a spokesperson for Bolton, whose scathing memoir about his time in the Trump White House will be published on Tuesday, issued a statement denying a Daily Telegraph report that the former national security adviser planned to vote for Biden.

Context: After the Telegraph reported on Sunday afternoon that Bolton told the paper he would vote for Biden, Bolton spokesperson Sarah Tinsley said in a statement to Axios, "This statement is incorrect. The Ambassador never said he planned to vote for Joe Biden.

"He has consistently said in recent days he will be writing in the name of a conservative Republican. Let there be no doubt — he will not be voting for Trump or Biden."

Background: The Telegraph wrote in a story touting its exclusive interview with Bolton:

As a lifelong Republican who has held high office in the Reagan and both Bush administrations, John Bolton, Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor, is not someone who normally considers voting Democrat.
Yet, such is the strength of the 71-year-old Washington veteran’s disaffection with Mr Trump’s presidency, that this is precisely how he intends to cast his vote in November’s U.S. presidential election. Rather than voting for the president he served for 17 months as National Security Advisor until his resignation last year, Mr Bolton says he intends to vote for Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate.

What he said: "In 2016 I voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton," Bolton reportedly told the Telegraph. "Now, having seen this president up close, I cannot do this again. My concern is for the country, and he does not represent the Republican cause that I want to back."

  • "The president does not have a philosophical grounding or strategy,” he continued. “He does not know the difference between the national interest of the U.S., and the interests of Donald Trump. There is confusion over the national interest and his personal interest, which is very dangerous for the country."
  • "When you are in a senior position you have an obligation to tell the truth,” he added. "I was concerned after 17 months in the administration that he (Mr Trump) did not have the requisite competence to be president, and the American people need to know about that."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Bolton's ABC interview and to reflect that a Bolton spokesperson denied telling The Telegraph that he will vote for Biden in November.

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