Former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right Ex-Trump adviser Bolton defends Milley: 'His patriotism is unquestioned' MORE expressed concern in a new interview that hostile actors would acquire biological weapons or the U.S. could withdraw from NATO if President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE is reelected.
“If Trump's response to the [coronavirus] pandemic has proven [anything] to anybody who's contemplating acquiring a biological weapons capability, it's that he's not able to respond to it in a systematic fashion," Bolton told Axios. "Whatever the source of this pandemic, it's a roadmap for the people who do control biological weapons, or aspire to biological weapons, what can happen." Bolton did not specify which actors he had in mind.
He also said it is “highly questionable” whether Trump would keep the U.S. in NATO if reelected, citing the administration’s plans to withdraw thousands of troops from Germany.
"I'm not averse to moving 9,000, 10,000 troops out of Germany if we're going to move them to Poland or someplace else," Bolton told the news outlet. "But that's not why he's bringing those troops home. My first reaction [to Trump's German troop drawdown announcement] was this is the beginning of the end."
He went on to argue that the relationships with several U.S. allies are in question.
"I think the alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia are question marks at this point," he said. "If you believe the world's far away, then why have these alliances at all?"
Alyssa Farah, the White House director of strategic communications, pushed back against Bolton’s remarks, however, citing actions during the president's first years in office.
"Under President Trump’s leadership, our allies are contributing more than $130 billion more to NATO, we’ve taken two of the world’s foremost terrorists off the battlefield, restored deterrence with Iran, and we are on pace to bring American soldiers home from the longest war in American history,” Farah told Axios.
Bolton, she said, “doesn’t have a single foreign policy or national defense achievement."
The White House has been engaged in both a war of words and a legal battle over Bolton’s memoir, claiming it contains classified information. A federal court ruled last week that its publication, scheduled for Tuesday, can proceed.