- John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, dunked on his ex-boss on Friday.
- Bolton said Trump isn’t “capable” of staging an actual coup.
- This comes after Trump said “if I was going to do a coup,” it wouldn’t be with Gen. Mark Milley.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
John Bolton, the former national security adviser in the Trump administration and champion of the Iraq War, told CNN on Friday that his old boss isn’t “capable” of staging a real coup.
“The idea of Trump staging a coup does give him too much credit,” Bolton said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“That requires advance thinking, planning, strategizing, building up support,” he continued, “and I just don’t think he’s capable of that.”
—New Day (@NewDay) July 16, 2021
Bolton was responding to former President Donald Trump’s recent statement on a series of new books coming out, several of which include scathing details on the January 6 insurrection.
“I never threatened, or spoke to, anyone about a coup of our government,” the former president said in an emailed statement on Thursday. “So ridiculous! Sorry to inform you, but the election is my form of ‘coup’, and if I was going to do a coup, one of the last people I would want to do it with is Mark General Milley.”
Trump added that Milley — who likened Trump to Hitler and worried he would use the military for nefarious purposes at the end of his term, possibly for a coup or a war overseas — is “certainly not the kind of person I would be talking ‘coup’ with.”
“I’m not into coups!” Trump added.
Bolton’s assessment was similar to that of a history professor specializing in fascism who spoke to Insider in June 2020.
“Somebody who is totally erratic and has no ultimate vision, and is basically knee-jerking all the time, it’s almost a misuse of the term to flatter them with a political science term, because it gives their behavior a sort of Machiavellian subtlety, which it lacks in the case of Trump,” Roger Griffin, author of “The Nature of Fascism” and emeritus professor in modern history at Oxford Brookes University, told Insider.
While Bolton dismissed the notion of Trump having the intellectual and strategic rigor to pull off a coup, he noted that his former boss was still able to use chaos to his advantage.
“What he was capable of was on a daily basis, doing something more and more outrageous than he had done the day before,” he said, “all to the same end of staying in power.”
Bolton, for his part, also added that Trump isn’t capable of being a fascist, either.
“I think that requires believing Trump can think in a consistent philosophical framework for more than about 10 or 15 seconds, and it’s just not possible,” he said.