John Bolton said criticism from President Donald Trump of his new tell-all book “degrades the office” of the presidency on Friday. In an interview with FOX Business host Stuart Varney, Bolton was asked to respond to comments like he wants to bomb countries and refused. The former National Security Adviser said these are “serious issues” and he is not going to get into a situation where he is “exchanging petty insults” with the president.
VARNEY: Well, the president says you want to bomb everybody. Did you want to bomb the Venezuelans? No, I’m not joking. I’m not — I’m not joking here. BOLTON: No, look — VARNEY: I mean the president said very clearly there, bombs away with — with John — John Bolton. I mean, that’s pretty strong stuff. Did you want to bomb any foreign country? BOLTON: No. Look, the president is acting as he often does. I’m really not going to respond to it. These are serious issues that ought to be treated seriously. VARNEY: Well, John, I think you should. Look, if this is a tell-all book, you’re telling everything that went on between you and the president in your 17 months in the White House. But now you won’t make any comment when the president comes back at you. I think you should. BOLTON: I don’t think I should. I — I think when you — when you make those kinds of comments, it degrades the office of the presidency. And I think people can draw their own conclusions from it. I’m — I’m — I’m not going to get into a situation where I’m engaged in — in — in — in exchanging petty insults with him or anybody else, frankly. VARNEY: OK. The other criticism is that you rushed publication so that you’d get the book out there before the election because that would affect the election. You did rush into it, didn’t you? BOLTON: Well, I didn’t rush into it. I went through a pre-publication review process that lasted a pretty arduous four months and at the end of which is even the government concedes the review — the person in the NSC staff responsible for the review concluded there was no classified information in the book. I do think the timing means people have it open to them to consider for November, but it has one other purpose, Stuart. When a lot of the people on the scene today are gone in 50 years, the book will still be there. VARNEY: Last one. You’re also accused of just wanting to make a lot of money. You are going to make a lot of money. Oh, you are. You are. This is going to be a bestseller. You’re going to make a lot of money. You going to make five million? BOLTON: Look, I don’t know. If I wanted to make a lot of money, I never would have gone into the government. I served in the Reagan administration, in two different jobs, two different departments. I served in the Bush 41 administration. I served in the Bush 43 administration. And I served in the Trump administration. If making money were my only objective, I wouldn’t have done any of those. VARNEY: OK. Look, thanks very much for being on the show today, John. We do appreciate it.