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.