Former President Donald Trump said he hoped Covid-19 would “take out” his former national security adviser John Bolton. The information comes way of Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History, written by Washington Post reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta.
“Trump had tried to joke about the virus for months, sometimes even mocking people who had become ill. … At one meeting several months [before Trump got sick], NEC director Larry Kudlow had stifled a cough. The room had frozen. … Trump had waved his hands in front of his face, as if to jokingly ward off any flying virus particles, and then cracked a smile. ‘I was just kidding,’ he’d said. ‘Larry will never get COVID. He will defeat it with his optimism,'” reads an excerpt from the book, which will be published on June 29.
“‘John Bolton… Hopefully COVID takes out John,'” Trump added, according to the book.
Bolton has become one of Trump’s harshest critics since leaving his administration. His book, The Room Where It Happened, reveals salacious details about his time working in the White House. Trump has scoffed at all of Bolton’s claims and dismissed him as a liar during interviews and in posts to his official Twitter account when it was still active. He often referred to him as “Wacko Bolton” online. Trump even attempted to stop the publication of Bolton’s book on grounds that he’d “likely published classified materials” and “exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability,” but the lawsuit was tossed out by a federal judge.
Nightmare Scenario made headlines earlier this week after it emerged that Trump reportedly suggested sending Americans infected with Covid-19 to Guantanamo Bay in a bid to cut down on the number of cases on United States soil.
Trump reportedly made the remarks during a February 2020 meeting in the Situation Room about whether infected Americans should be brought home for care in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Don’t we have an island that we own?” and “What about Guantánamo?” Trump asked the meeting’s attendees.
“We import goods,” he said. “We are not going to import a virus.”
Trump also reportedly shocked aides with his reaction to the country’s initial lack of Covid-19 tests.
“Testing is killing me!” Trump reportedly told then-Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a phone call on March 18. “I’m going to lose the election because of testing! What idiot had the federal government do testing?” he added, rebuffing Azar’s remark that it had been Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who had handled those details.