Bolton: ‘Putin Saw Trump Doing a Lot of His Work for Him’
John Bolton, who served as former President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, said Russian President Vladimir Putin didn’t invade Ukraine while Trump was in office because “Putin saw Trump doing a lot of his work for him.”
“I think one of the reasons that Putin did not move during Trump’s term in office was he saw the president’s hostility of NATO. It was widely reported in American media,” Bolton told SiriusXM’s Julie Mason. “And to Putin’s mind, it’s a binary proposition: a weaker NATO is a stronger Russia.”
“Putin saw Trump doing a lot of his work for him, and thought, maybe in a second term, Trump would make good on his desire to get out of NATO, and then it would just ease Putin’s path just that much more,” Bolton added.
In 2018, Trump privately discussed the U.S. potentially withdrawing from NATO. Bolton said he believes Trump would have withdrawn from the alliance if he had won a second term.
“I thought he put his foot over it, but at least he didn’t withdraw then,” Bolton said during a virtual event with The Washington Post on Friday. “In a second Trump term, I think he may well have withdrawn from NATO. And I think Putin was waiting for that.”