Former national security adviser and noted war hawk John Bolton told a private gathering of Morgan Stanley's largest hedge fund clients that President Trump's approach is not in alignment with any of his key advisers, according to NBC News, citing six attendees.
Bolton, who is currently working on a book, suggested that Trump's "win-or-lose" negotiation style that works in real estate is bad for foreign policy, and that the president doesn't understand the interconnected nature of geopolitical relationships.
Where Bolton does agree with Trump is their mutual stance against China on trade, according to the report, however the two have had far more disagreements over Iran, North Korea, Syria and Ukraine.
Bolton told the gathering of Morgan Stanley’s largest hedge fund clients that he was most frustrated with Trump over his handling of Turkey, people who were present said. Noting the broad bipartisan support in Congress to sanction Turkey after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan purchased a Russian missile defense system, Bolton said Trump’s resistance to the move was unreasonable, four people present for his speech said. -NBC News
Trump notably sent Erdogan a letter in October warning him against "slaughtering thousands of people" after US forces pulled out of Northern Syria, and told the Turkish leader "Don't be a tough guy! Don't be a fool!" In response, Erdogan said that when the time comes "we will take the necessary steps" to respond to Trump's insulting note.
During an Oct. 6 phone call with Erdogan, Trump agreed to pull back U.S. troops from northeast Syria so Turkish forces could launch an attack against America’s Kurdish allies in the area. The presence of U.S. forces had deterred Erdogan from invading Syria, which he had threatened to do for years. Trump’s decision, followed by an order for all U.S. troops to exit Syria, was widely criticized even among the president’s Republican allies and was seen by many as a gift to the Turkish leader. -NBC News
Bolton also says he thinks there is a personal or business relationship underlying his position on Turkey because none of his key advisers are in agreement, according to the attendees.
NBC News notes that the Trump organization has lent Trump's name to a property in Istanbul. In 2012, Erdogan attended its grand opening with Ivanka Trump.
When asked what he thinks will happen in January 2021 if Trump is re-elected, Bolton reportedly took a swipe at Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, along with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).
Bolton said Trump could go full isolationist — with the faction of the Republican Party that aligns with Paul’s foreign policy views taking over the GOP — and could withdraw the U.S. from NATO and other international alliances, three people present for his remarks said.
He also suggested that Kushner and Ivanka Trump could convince the president to rewrite his legacy and nominate a liberal like Lawrence Tribe — a Harvard Law professor who has questioned Trump’s fitness for office and was a legal adviser to Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign — to the Supreme Court, the people present for Bolton's speech said.
Bolton said, with an eye roll that suggested he doesn’t take them seriously, that Kushner and Ivanka Trump could do so in an attempt to prove they had real influence and were in the White House representing the people they want to be in social circles with at home in New York City, the people present for his remarks said. -NBC News
Bolton promised the hedge fund investors that we can learn more in his upcoming book, after having reached a deal with Simon & Schuster.