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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.

Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan police reform negotiations end without deal

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) with Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in the Capitol in May 2021. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Bipartisan talks on reforming police tactics and accountability, prompted by George Floyd's murder in May 2020, have ended without a compromise, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a key negotiator, said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Lawmakers, led by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Booker, had been working toward a bipartisan deal for months but things fell apart due to disagreements on qualified immunity and other issues.

Federal Reserve scales back expectations for economic recovery as Delta variant weighs

Fed chair Jerome Powell during a congressional hearing last year. (Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Fed downgraded near-term expectations for the economy and the labor market, alongside hotter-than-expected inflation, in new estimates out on Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's the first time those closely-watched estimates reflect impact from the delta variant that's already rattled the labor market. Still, Fed chairman Jerome Powell said enough progress has been made to begin to pull back emergency-era measures that have supported the economy.