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Sarah Sanders and John Bolton at the White House in 2018. Photo: Mike Theiler/Pool/Getty Images

One former top West Wing official tells Axios that national security adviser John Bolton was unpopular even before the leaks from his tell-all, "The Room Where It Happened," which is out Tuesday.

Axios has a first look for you at a fiery passage from a book that's coming this fall from former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, "Speaking for Myself." She writes that, during President Trump's state visit to London last year, "Bolton was a classic case of a senior White House official drunk on power, who had forgotten that nobody elected him to anything."

Sanders tells me that Bolton regularly traveled separately on foreign trips and, in London, disregarded a request to wait so the rest of the staff wouldn’t get stuck in traffic:

  • "Bolton apparently felt too important to travel with the rest of us," Sanders writes. "As we were ready to depart for the Winfield House," the U.S. ambassador's residence in London, "we loaded onto a small black bus."
  • "We waited and watched as Bolton sped by and left us in the dust. The discussion on the bus quickly moved ... to how arrogant and selfish Bolton could be, not just in this moment but on a regular basis."
  • "If anyone on the team should have merited a motorcade it was [Treasury Secretary] Mnuchin, but he was a team player and didn’t seem to mind traveling with the rest of us."

"Often Bolton acted like he was the president, pushing an agenda contrary to President Trump's."

  • "When we finally arrived at the Winfield House, [chief of staff] Mick Mulvaney, typically laid-back and not one to get caught up in titles or seniority, confronted Bolton and unleashed a full Irish explosion on him."

"Let’s face it, John," Mulvaney said, according to Sanders. "You’re a f—— self-righteous, self-centered son of a b——!'"

  • "That epithet ... was the culmination of months of Bolton thinking he was more important and could play by a different set of rules than the rest of the team. ... Bolton backed down and stormed off."

The response ... Sarah Tinsley, longtime senior adviser to Bolton, told Axios:

All logistical arrangements for travel of this sort were handled by the Secret Service, without any input from Ambassador Bolton. It is impossible to believe that his assigned Secret Service agents acted other than in a completely professional manner, fully coordinated with the Secret Service details assigned to Messrs. Mnuchin and Mulvaney.
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Go deeper

Updated Aug 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump's former Homeland Security chief of staff endorses Joe Biden

Miles Taylor, the former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff under President Trump, endorsed Joe Biden for president in a video funded by Republican Voters Against Trump.

Why it matters: Taylor's blistering criticism of Trump adds to the chorus of former top administration officials who have spoken out against the president after leaving office — most notably former national security adviser John Bolton and former Defense Secretary James Mattis.

2 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

2 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."