John Bolton calls Trump incompetent as president plans Phoenix speech amid pandemic – live

Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has blasted former national security adviser John Bolton for being “a classic case of a senior White House official drunk on power, who had forgotten that nobody elected him to anything” and who sometimes “acted like he was president”.

Sarah Sanders. Composite: Getty Images / AFP

Sanders left the Trump White House in June 2019, two months before Bolton resigned. Bolton will publish his memoir, The Room Where It Happened, on Tuesday.

Sanders, who has remained loyal to the president amid rumours of her own political ambitions in Arkansas, which her dad Mike Huckabee used as a springboard for two presidential runs, has a book out in September.

It’s called Speaking for Myself. Critics of Sanders will no doubt observe that during her time as White House press secretary, she rarely spoke for the president: daily briefings withered on her watch, shrank to nothing under her successor Stephanie Grisham, then made a comeback under the current occupant of the role, Kayleigh McEnany.

But here Sanders comes with a book and, in a very Washington way, she has provided a spot of exclusive “perfect smokey eye” to the Axios website.

During Trump’s state visit to London last year, Sanders writes, “Bolton apparently felt too important to travel with the rest of us. As we were ready to depart for the Winfield House [the US ambassador’s residence] we loaded onto a small black bus.

“We waited and watched as Bolton sped by and left us in the dust. The discussion on the bus quickly moved … to how arrogant and selfish Bolton could be, not just in this moment but on a regular basis.”

Sanders also claims “Bolton acted like he was the president, pushing an agenda contrary to President Trump’s”, and details a chewing out from then-acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who reportedly called Bolton “a fucking self-righteous, self-centered son of a bitch”.

Sanders doesn’t print the swearwords – I did that – but she says “That epithet … was the culmination of months of Bolton thinking he was more important and could play by a different set of rules than the rest of the team. … Bolton backed down and stormed off.”

In response, Axios quotes Sarah Tinsley, longtime senior adviser to Bolton, as absolving him of such bad behaviour about transportation arrangements. She doesn’t say whether he thought he was president.

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