The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir

The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir

by John Bolton

Hardcover

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Overview

As President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton spent many of his 453 days in the room where it happened, and the facts speak for themselves.

The result is a White House memoir that is the most comprehensive and substantial account of the Trump Administration, and one of the few to date by a top-level official. With almost daily access to the President, John Bolton has produced a precise rendering of his days in and around the Oval Office. What Bolton saw astonished him: a President for whom getting reelected was the only thing that mattered, even if it meant endangering or weakening the nation. “I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations,” he writes. In fact, he argues that the House committed impeachment malpractice by keeping their prosecution focused narrowly on Ukraine when Trump’s Ukraine-like transgressions existed across the full range of his foreign policy—and Bolton documents exactly what those were, and attempts by him and others in the Administration to raise alarms about them.

He shows a President addicted to chaos, who embraced our enemies and spurned our friends, and was deeply suspicious of his own government. In Bolton’s telling, all this helped put Trump on the bizarre road to impeachment. “The differences between this presidency and previous ones I had served were stunning,” writes Bolton, who worked for Reagan, Bush 41, and Bush 43. He discovered a President who thought foreign policy is like closing a real estate deal—about personal relationships, made-for-TV showmanship, and advancing his own interests. As a result, the US lost an opportunity to confront its deepening threats, and in cases like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea ended up in a more vulnerable place.

Bolton’s account starts with his long march to the West Wing as Trump and others woo him for the National Security job. The minute he lands, he has to deal with Syria’s chemical attack on the city of Douma, and the crises after that never stop. As he writes in the opening pages, “If you don’t like turmoil, uncertainty, and risk—all the while being constantly overwhelmed with information, decisions to be made, and sheer amount of work—and enlivened by international and domestic personality and ego conflicts beyond description, try something else.”

The turmoil, conflicts, and egos are all there—from the upheaval in Venezuela, to the erratic and manipulative moves of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, to the showdowns at the G7 summits, the calculated warmongering by Iran, the crazy plan to bring the Taliban to Camp David, and the placating of an authoritarian China that ultimately exposed the world to its lethal lies. But this seasoned public servant also has a great eye for the Washington inside game, and his story is full of wit and wry humor about how he saw it played.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781982148034
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 06/23/2020
Pages: 592
Sales rank: 64
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

John Bolton is the former National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump. He served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006. He has spent many years of his career in public service and held high-level positions in the Administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush. Ambassador Bolton is also an attorney, and was in private practice in Washington, DC, from 1974 to 2018, except when he was in government service. Ambassador Bolton was born in Baltimore in 1948. He graduated with a BA, summa cum laude, from Yale College and received his JD from Yale Law School. He currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Long March to a West Wing Corner Office 1

Chapter 2 Cry "Havoc!" and Let Slip the Dogs of War 43

Chapter 3 America Breaks Free 61

Chapter 4 The Singapore Sling 77

Chapter 5 A Tale of Three Cities-Summits in Brussels, London, and Helsinki 127

Chapter 6 Thwarting Russia 159

Chapter 7 Trump Heads for the Door in Syria and Afghanistan, and Can't Find It 183

Chapter 8 Chaos as a Way of Life 223

Chapter 9 Venezuela Libre 247

Chapter 10 Thunder Out of China 287

Chapter 11 Checking into the Hanoi Hilton, Then Checking Out, and the Panmunjom Playtime 319

Chapter 12 Trump Loses His Way and Then His Nerve 363

Chapter 13 From the Afghanistan Counterterrorism Mission to the Camp David Near Miss 423

Chapter 14 The End of the Idyll 445

Chapter 15 Epilogue 483

Notes 495

Index 543

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