As federal judge Royce Lamberth declined to block former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s savagely devastating memoir of his time working in the Trump White House, the president took to Twitter to attack yet another of his failed hires, demonstrating how quickly previously favored insiders become exiled pariahs once they expose the bountiful corruption and criminality of this administration.
Donald Trump went so far as to quote another one of his political nemeses — noted Republican political strategist and one of the founders of the Never Trump PAC The Lincoln Project — Steve Schmidt in describing “Wacko John Bolton” as “a despicable man who failed in his duty to protect America.”
…..who was all washed up until I brought him back and gave him a chance, broke the law by releasing Classified Information (in massive amounts). He must pay a very big price for this, as others have before him. This should never to happen again!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2020
While the hawkish Bolton has always been reviled by those on the left as a dangerous warmonger whose fondness for American military intervention in foreign lands has been legendary, Trump’s sudden realization that the left was correct in its assessment that the former National Security Advisor should never “serve in government again” raises the valid question as to why the president thought he was fit to hire in the first place,
Combine that bit of cognitive dissonance with the logical inconsistencies inherent in Trump’s characterization of the revelations in Bolton’s book about the president’s treasonous and self-serving behavior in the conduct of foreign policy as blatant lies while simultaneously accusing his former advisor of trying to publish classified information and you can see why Judge Lamberth determined that there was no reason to prevent the publication of Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened.
Trump’s inability to see that Bolton’s account of the president’s promise to quash the federal investigation into a Turkish bank to prove to authoritarian Turkish President Recep Erdoğan that his own powers were equally unquestioned could either be called a fabrication or classified — but not both — is just another example of the same disordered thinking that led him to decide to proceed with a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma tonight that is likely to create a COVID-19 superspreader event.
The failure of the president’s lawsuit seeking to prevent the publication of The Room Where It Happened was not unexpected, given that the book had already been cleared by the National Security Council’s top official in its initial prepublication review before the administration ordered a second review and that copies were already printed and in warehouses ready for distribution. In addition, most of the most highly incriminating incidents that the book alleges have already been leaked to the media as part of the publicity campaign in advance of its publication.
Indeed, the fact that the horse had already been let out of the barn was a major factor in Judge Lamberth’s ruling.
“With hundreds of thousands of copies around the globe — many in newsrooms — the damage is done. There is no restoring the status quo,” the judge wrote in his opinion.
The vow of vengeance against Bolton that Trump included in his tweet, however, can still be fulfilled since Judge Lamberth left open the possibility that the former National Security Advisor may have to forfeit the $2 million advance that he received from his publisher Simon and Schuster.
In a second set of tweets, Trump indicated that the setback in losing the argument to prevent the book’s publication would not stop him from continuing his vendetta against his disloyal former aide.
In typical Trumpian fashion, he ignored the reality of his loss in court by simply redefining it as a “BIG COURT WIN” instead.
….Bolton broke the law and has been called out and rebuked for so doing, with a really big price to pay. He likes dropping bombs on people, and killing them. Now he will have bombs dropped on him!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2020
As the president revels in the violent imagery of vengeance against those who would reveal the truth of his treasonous crimes, meanwhile the nation suffers from Trump’s seeming abandonment of any effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic which has now seen new cases rise 6% over the last two weeks — a number that will surely rise further as the president continues to urge states to reopen before having met CDC guidelines for doing so and holds a mass rally in a state currently experiencing a sharp upward trend in cases.
With Trump supporters having made mask-wearing and regulations designed to ensure public health political issues, Trump’s defeat in the November elections becomes more than a matter concerning the survival of American democracy. It is now a matter of the survival of a significant number of Americans who will succumb to a disease that could have been avoided with a competent administration in place.
Original reporting by Charlie Savage in The New York Times.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.