Fred Fleitz, John Bolton’s chief of staff when he served in the State Department, told Newsmax TV on Tuesday that he was “terribly disappointed” in his former boss, calling his latest book about his time as national security adviser a “data dump” of confidential conversations, particularly with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“This book is so much worse than I thought,” Fleitz said on “Greg Kelly Reports.” “It is a data dump of Bolton’s confidential discussions with the president (Donald Trump), internal policy deliberations and private discussions that Bolton had with other people.
“And you know, that’s something I didn’t expect. There’s so many private discussions that Ambassador Bolton had with Mike Pompeo in there, that in my opinion, that are intended to hurt Pompeo. I’m friends with both men, and I’m just very disappointed in John Bolton over this book.”
Fleitz’s comments come on the day Bolton’s latest tome, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” was released to the public. It covers Bolton’s 17 months in 2018 and 2019 as national security adviser under Trump.
Fleitz said he has known Bolton for 30 years, was his chief of staff when Bolton was Undersecretary of State for Arms Control from 2001–2005 under President George W. Bush and most recently served in government as chief of staff for the National Security Council under Trump.
His harshest criticism of the book centered around what he said was Bolton’s claim to be the “turning point” during his tenure with Trump.
“It wasn’t Russia, or Ukraine, or China, or dealing with Kim Jong Un, it was President Trump’s decision last June not to bomb Iran,” said Fleitz, now the president for the Center for Security Policy. “You may remember there was a recommendation by the president’s advisers to bomb multiple locations in Iran last June, because the Iranians shot down an unarmed drone.
“Well President Trump found out that would result in the deaths of 100 to 200 people. He called it off. Bolton says in the book that this was ‘the most irrational thing I’ve ever witnessed any president do.’”
Fleitz went on to describe how Bolton criticizes Trump for being unprincipled and only concerned with re-election.
“No, he does have principles. It’s called America first,” Fleitz said. “It involves keeping America out of unnecessary wars, and not starting new ones. It was the right decision. It was a principled decision.”