Administration

John Bolton: Not accurate to say ‘Trump’s behavior somehow deterred the Russians’

Former national security adviser John Bolton pushed back against the idea that former President Trump’s behavior discouraged Russian military aggression while he was in office, saying, “It’s just not accurate to say that Trump’s behavior somehow deterred the Russians.”

During an interview with Bolton, Newsmax host Rob Schmitt said that “there is something to be said, though, about the simple fact that there was not aggression during the four years” Trump was in office, noting a list of actions that the Washington think tank Brookings Institution said the Trump administration took against Russia. 

“I mean, he took a very tough stance against Russia. I’m surprised you don’t think that he would have handled it better than Joe Biden,” Schmitt told Bolton.

“He did not,” Bolton replied. “We didn’t sanction Nord Stream 2. We should have. We should have brought the project to an end. We did impose sanctions on Russian oligarchs and several others because of their sales of S-400 anti-aircraft systems to other countries. But in almost every case, the sanctions were imposed with Trump complaining about it, saying we were being too hard.”

The Trump-era national security adviser claimed the former president did not know where Ukraine was on a map and said he believed Russia did not take more aggressive actions while Trump was in office because Russia “didn’t feel that their military was ready.”

“The fact is that he barely knew where Ukraine was. He once asked John Kelly, his second chief of staff, if Finland were a part of Russia. It’s just not accurate to say that Trump’s behavior somehow deterred the Russians,” Bolton said.

Taylor Budowich, a spokesperson for Trump, slammed Bolton’s comments in a statement to The Hill.

“John Bolton was fired because he believes anything less than war is not enough. President Trump ensured peace during his administration and ended wars, making Bolton irrelevant,” Budowich said.

A majority of Americans believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if Trump were still president, according to a poll released last week.

A Harvard Center for American Political Studies-Harris Poll survey last week found that 62 percent of those polled believed Putin would not be moving against Ukraine if Trump were still in office.

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Joe Biden John Bolton John Bolton John Kelly Newsmax Russia Russia-Ukraine conflict Ukraine Vladimir Putin

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