Why Doesn’t Trump Just Blame John Bolton For Botching Coronavirus Response?
The shut down of the White House pandemic response team happened when Bolton was Trump’s National Security Advisor, and he was their direct boss.
We realize this is rather minor compared to everything else that’s going on at this time. But it does remind us how far we’ve come in the very short time since Bolton was making headlines. And, we remember it being Trump’s former National Security Advisor who spearheaded the dismantling of the White House Global Health Security and Biodefense team. Including firing or forcing out several officials with strong expertise in pandemics. (Bolton has busily taken to Twitter these days, denying any of this. But if you read the opinion piece to which he refers, it’s kind of splitting hairs. Yes, there were deep cuts to the National Security Agency when he was around. No, they weren’t only in the pandemic and bio-terrorism staff).
We remember that because it caused quite a stir at the time, including Trump standing behind the decision, saying he could bring those folks, or similar folks, back very quickly if he needed them.
Trump fired Bolton, he Tweets, because “frankly, if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now”. Trump hates Bolton. The New York Times has reported more than once that Bolton would’ve been willing to testify to the Senate during Trump’s impeachment trial that his boss’ phone call to the President of Ukraine was anything but “perfect”.
So why isn’t Trump blaming him for everything that’s gone or will go bad with the Coronavirus response? No matter how good the White House s response is from here on out, mistakes and miscalculations will inevitably continue to be made due to the unpredictability and unprecedentedness of the outbreak.
The chain of command and decision-making in White House personnel with expertise in the area getting axed passes clearly through Bolton. The President is always looking for scapegoats to shift blame off himself. As he said the other day regarding a lack of Coronavirus testing: “I don’t take any responsibility at all”. And that pretty much applies to all negative things that happen under his watch, even though he’s President. Bolton’s almost a perfect scapegoat, yet Trump’s not going there. And least not yet. So, why?
Answer could be very simple: in order to blame Bolton, Trump would have to admit his response all along has been anything but “perfect”. And Trump just now asserting:
“I’ve always known…this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
Update: And lo and behold, the morning after we originally published this piece, Trump even more strongly endorsed our contention, Tweeting:
“I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning.”
We hope we don’t need to remind you, although we are reminding you, that even earlier this very same month of March, Trump’s response when others were already saying this could be a pandemic, was:
“[Y]ou have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero…that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”
Oh, and also, Bolton’s tell-all book about his time in the White House was originally scheduled to go on sale today. It’s not. That’s because the White House has got it tied up in red tape. Trying to determine what if anything in it might be privileged or classified. Trump’s said everything is “All Classified National Security”, and the book should not be allowed to be published until after he’s finished being President.
Is Trump concerned Bolton might not keep his mouth shut if he doesn’t? Would he even care at this point? We don’t want to further speculate on random theories. Especially since our more simple explanation we laid out above makes more sense to us, sort of. Still, just wondering…