Bolton: Pence appeared ‘stunned’ by some Trump actions
Former White House national security adviser John Bolton claims in his memoir that he considered Vice President Pence a “consistent ally” on foreign policy and that the vice president seemed “stunned” by some of President Trump’s steps on national security.
In the book, Bolton describes having previously known Pence from his time on the House Foreign Relations Committee and said the vice president was a “solid supporter of a strong national security policy.” Bolton says Pence frequently tried to influence Trump on foreign policy and that the vice president was shocked to be left out of the president’s meeting with then-lead negotiator for North Korea Kim Yong Chol in early 2019.
“I was still stunned at being excluded, but not more stunned than Pence, who was stoical throughout,” Bolton writes.
He also claims Pence took exception to Trump’s desire to invite Taliban representatives to the U.S. during negotiations over American troop levels in Afghanistan.
“We should reflect before we make that decision,” Bolton quotes Pence as saying of the militant group. “They have abused and repressed their people. Have they actually changed?”
He also claims Pence attempted to persuade the president to go ahead with planned retaliatory strikes against Iran in response to the downing of a U.S. drone in Iranian airspace after Trump called them off.
“He agreed to go down the hall to see Trump and find out if there was any way to reverse the decision, but there obviously was not,” Bolton wrote.
Bolton also defends Pence’s role in the delay of aid to Ukraine, which led to Trump’s impeachment, saying the vice president told him that he had told the president the money should be released. Numerous diplomats testified last year that the move was tied to the announcement of Ukrainian investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden.
The Justice Department has sued to block Bolton’s publication of the book, claiming it contains classified information, but a federal court ruled last week that it can proceed on Tuesday as scheduled.
The Hill has reached out to Pence’s office for comment.
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