Donald Trump’s presidency was in turmoil Thursday after top ex-aide John Bolton declared him unfit for office, raising the stakes on a controversial re-election rally meant to boost his flailing campaign — yet facing troubles of its own.
Trump’s once supremely self-confident march toward a second term was already in a hole due to criticism over his responses to the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide anti-racism protests.
Now, the outsider president who had never even contested an election before his shock win in 2016, faces a blistering insider attack from his former national security aide.
“I don’t think he’s fit for office. I don’t think he has the competence to carry out the job,” Bolton told ABC News to promote his book, “The Room Where it Happened.”
The book — which the White House is trying desperately to get stopped by court order — alleges that Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping for re-election help, obstructed justice, and was no match for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Putin thinks he can play him like a fiddle,” Bolton told ABC.
Trump lashed back at Bolton, calling him a “sick puppy” and dismissing the book as “fiction.”
But for all the scandals and even impeachment that Trump has previously weathered, the book inflicts a newly painful kind of wound.
He largely brushed off his responsibility for the rapid spread of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 117,000 Americans and forced a traumatic economic slowdown, calling it “the invisible enemy” and blaming it on China.
And he branded the wave of street anger over police brutality a left-wing phenomenon, rejecting polls that show a groundswell in those believing that systemic racism is a problem.
Bolton, though, is different.
A lifelong Republican and foreign policy hawk, he is arguably well to the right of Trump and therefore not vulnerable to Trump’s usual attacks.
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