John Bolton wants to make foreign policy great again. And he really, really, really wants to challenge Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican presidential primary. Welcome to 2023, y’all. This is how the new year will go. Republicans without a chance in the world of becoming the Republican nominee will begin to come out of the woodwork and tell some news outlet that they will run for president. It’s going to be 2015 all over again.
In this case, John Bolton told Good Morning Britain, of all places, that he will indeed challenge Donald Trump for the GOP nomination. Bolton is 74 years od now and shouting from the rooftops that America must engage with the world. Specifically, he says he would be much tougher on Russia and China. During his time in the Trump administration as his national security adviser, Trump dubbed Bolton as Mr. Tough Guy. Like a lot of old-school Republican hawks, he talks a big game and never met a potential foreign conflict he wasn’t itching to jump right into.
He thinks Trump’s MAGA policies is in ‘terminal decline’. That’s where I think he misreads the room. Support for Trump the candidate may be waning but his policies are still very popular. He was arguably the most conservative president in my lifetime, with the exception of his tendency to approve of big spending bills, as other Republicans have done in recent years. Much of his big spending was out of his hands. The coronavirus pandemic happened and it was a very expensive national (and international) health crisis. Bolton wants to challenge isolationism.
‘I think it’s important that it’s understood not just in Moscow, but it’s understood in places like Beijing, that unprovoked aggression against your neighbors is not something the United States and its allies will tolerate.’
He made news in Great Britain by voicing big support for former Prime Minister Liz Truss. He thought she was on the right track. He’s not wrong about that.
He was then asked about the UK political turmoil of 2022, a year which saw three prime ministers after Liz Truss’s infamous 44 days of chaos in Downing Street.
Bolton sympathized with the ex-leader over her pro-growth and low-tax budget which sparked financial pandemonium, saying: ‘I think it was very, very sad, very, very unfortunate for the United Kingdom.
‘The policy she and her Chancellor of the Exchequer were recommending seemed to me to be perfectly sensible.’
Bolton also predicted a political comeback for Boris Johnson.
Yesterday in an interview with NBC’s Kristen Welker on Meet the Press Now, Bolton sounded less assertive than today with Good Morning Britain. My impression is that he is growing more aggressive in insisting he’ll be a serious candidate. His focus on NBC was about Trump’s disregard for the Constitution, as exhibited when Trump said he should be declared the president last month. Bolton wants “Shermanesque statements” from all GOP candidates. It isn’t enough to say they support the Constitution. They have to speak out and say they will oppose people who would undercut it. Bolton said he would jump in the race if other Republicans didn’t step up and condemn Trump for trying to get rid of the Constitution. Last month, Bolton teased a presidential run for the same reason.
Good Morning Britain was all excited about Bolton’s interview and what he said. They advertised it as an exclusive.
In a report introducing a Friday interview with Bolton, the show said: “John Bolton has exclusively told ‘Good Morning Britain’ he wants to become the next president of the United States.”
In the video clip tweeted by the show, Bolton is asked by “Good Morning Britain” what a John Bolton America would look like if he was the commander in chief.
“I would get in to win the nomination,” he said. “And I would do it primarily on the basis that we need a much stronger foreign policy. And I think it is important that it is understood, not just in Moscow, but is understood in places like Beijing — that unprovoked aggression against your neighbors is not something the United States and its allies would tolerate.”
Commenting on Trump’s influence in the Republican Party, Bolton said: “I think Trump support within the party itself is in terminal decline.”
He went on to say that his would not be a vanity candidacy. If he didn’t think he could run a serious campaign, he wouldn’t get in the race. It sure sounds like a vanity candidacy, though. He’s bitter about Trump firing after a year in the administration as national security adviser, though he claims he resigned. He’s angry he was passed over for Secretary of State, too. Word was that Trump didn’t like Bolton’s mustache. That’s a strange reason but it made for some interesting banter. I never thought Bolton was a good fit for Team Trump. Trump never started a war, which makes him unique among modern presidents. Bolton is a hawk and proud of it.
Bolton doesn’t understand that for a large amount of Republican-leaning voters, the old GOP is over. The GOPe doesn’t interest them in the least. Trump brought in working class voters who used to vote Democrat. He increased the number of minority voters for the GOP, too. Look what is happening in south Texas, for example. And in Florida, too. Abbott and DeSantis are solid Republican governors but Trump sparked the interest of a larger number of Hispanic voters in both states. He concentrated on issues they are interested in. Bolton doesn’t realize that foreign policy isn’t tops on most voters list of concerns. Americans are war weary. Bolton is a sabre-rattler.
Will Bolton go through with his talk about running? Maybe. I have a feeling that the GOP field will be crowded again, as it was in 2015. Potential candidates are hanging back for now and waiting for the first one to jump in against Trump. Who will be the first? I don’t look for DeSantis to do it until after the Florida legislative session is over this year. If my fear is correct, and too many jump in, it will be 2015 again and Trump will win the nomination. Probably. It’s too early to tell. I do think Trump’s viability is waning. People are ready for change, fresh faces. For now though, we wait and see.