The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir by John R. Bolton
The result is a White House memoir that is the most comprehensive and substantial account of the Trump Administration, and one of the few to date by a top-level official. With almost daily access to the President, John Bolton has produced a precise rendering of his days in and around the Oval Office. What Bolton saw astonished him: a President for whom getting reelected was the only thing that mattered, even if it meant endangering or weakening the nation. “I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations,” he writes. In fact, he argues that the House committed impeachment malpractice by keeping their prosecution focused narrowly on Ukraine when Trump’s Ukraine-like transgressions existed across the full range of his foreign policy—and Bolton documents exactly what those were, and attempts by him and others in the Administration to raise alarms about them.
He shows in The Room Where It Happened book a President addicted to chaos, who embraced our enemies and spurned our friends and was deeply suspicious of his own government. In Bolton’s telling, all this helped put Trump on the bizarre road to impeachment. “The differences between this presidency and previous ones I had served were stunning,” writes Bolton, who worked for Reagan, Bush 41, and Bush 43. He discovered a President who thought foreign policy is like closing a real estate deal—about personal relationships, made-for-TV showmanship, and advancing his own interests. As a result, the US lost an opportunity to confront its deepening threats, and in cases like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea ended up in a more vulnerable place.
Bolton’s account starts with his long march to the West Wing as Trump and others woo him for the National Security job. The minute he lands, he has to deal with Syria’s chemical attack on the city of Douma, and the crises after that never stop. As he writes in the opening pages, “If you don’t like turmoil, uncertainty, and risk—all the while being constantly overwhelmed with information, decisions to be made, and the sheer amount of work—and enlivened by international and domestic personality and ego conflicts beyond description, try something else.”
The turmoil, conflicts, and egos are all there—from the upheaval in Venezuela to the erratic and manipulative moves of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to the showdowns at the G7 summits, the calculated warmongering by Iran, the crazy plan to bring the Taliban to Camp David, and the placating of an authoritarian China that ultimately exposed the world to its lethal lies. But this seasoned public servant also has a great eye for Washington inside the game, and his story is full of wit and wry humor about how he saw it played.
About the author:
John R. Bolton served as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs from April 9, 2018, until his resignation on September 10, 2019. From January 2007 until April 2018, he served as a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.
He was appointed as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations on August 1, 2005, and served until his resignation in December 2006. Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Bolton served as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security from May 2001 to May 2005.
Throughout his career, Ambassador Bolton has been a staunch defender of American interests. While Under Secretary of State, he advocated tough measures against the nuclear weapons programs of both Iran and North Korea and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction worldwide. He led negotiations for America to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty so that the Bush Administration could proceed with a national missile-defense program.
Ambassador Bolton has spent many years in public service. Previous positions he has held include assistant secretary for International Organization Affairs at the Department of State, 1989-1993; assistant attorney general, Department of Justice, 1985-1989; assistant administrator for Program and Policy Coordination, U.S. Agency for International Development, 1982-1983 and general counsel, U.S. Agency for International Development, 1981-1982.
Ambassador Bolton is the author of Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the U.N. and Abroad, published by Simon and Shuster (November 2007) and How Barack Obama Is Endangering Our National Sovereignty, published by Encounter Books (April 2010).
Reviews about the ebook:
First, the elephant in the room where it happened. Yes, John Bolton admits in The Room Where It Happened book, that the New York Times’ reporting during the impeachment was true: Bolton –did- back up the impeachment by leaking that Trump had withheld congressional funding from Ukraine in order to pressure them to lie and smear Joe Biden (and also to lie and say that Putin hadn’t cheated for Trump to win in 2016.) He withheld taxpayer dollars to try to cheat and win the 2020 election–definitely impeachable and disqualifying.Unfortunately, leaked quotes to the New York Times did not sway Bolton’s fellow Republicans in the Senate in the way that his actual testimony (or even a press conference or sworn affidavit) could have.
- Marius von Heinen:
As a Norwegian, I simply find American politics amusing. Why? Because they are not like politics in Norway. Our “far-right” is “far-left” compared to the US. We’re different from you guys. I find French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Swedish, and British politics just as amusing because they are different (more similar than the US though).As Trump would probably tell people that this book is made up of lies and recommend everyone to not read it, I just had to get it and read it. And I did.Like all political books, it’s a tough, slow, and rather boring read to be honest, but it’s still an important enough book for Trump to tweet about it. The Room Where It Happened book is somewhat, as expected, revealing. If it’s true or not is not up to me to tell, but most of it does fit the description of Trump that we’re already used to “across the pond”.
Personally, I do not see why anyone would spend their time writing this if it is all lies. It’s not exactly a page-turner, but some of the situations described are well worth the read. Would recommend this to people who want a nuanced view on the “Trump vs. former employees” The Room Where It Happened ebook.
Politics and positions aside, The Room Where It Happened ebook is in desperate need of an editor for clarity and ease of reading. The amount of compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences is exhausting. It’s a wonky, clumsy read.
If this were a textbook, I would be more forgiving. However, The Room Where It Happened is a book intended to inform the general public (regardless of your position or opinion of the information).
Bolton is clearly an intelligent man but it doesn’t serve the public well if general readers can’t quickly absorb the information. Most readers are not going to work that hard to get through a book.
Bolton would call that being “intellectually lazy.” I would call Bolton and his editors “intellectually lazy” for not making the book more accessible. It’s a shame given the subject matter. I believe it’s an important book to read but be aware that it’s a slog.
- Tom Garvey:
Like a moth to the flame, I’m drawn by a guilty pleasure to The Room Where It Happened ebook. Like his taxes or school grades, I have to see what is in The Room Where It Happened book to make our national disgrace work so hard to hide it from us.
Bolton is also a national disgrace in not coming forward when it mattered, parlaying time and positioning to earn a not so small fortune on The Room Where It Happened book.
Five stars for what he finally sells us, one star for Bolton’s character. Both Bolton and the flaw in the Oval office are traitors to our country. Both men contrived to avoid Vietnam.
I’d say “A pox on both their houses” but in the current mishandled pandemic I can not wish that on anyone. History will bare their souls.
Both of these men have put their own self-interests before what is best for our country. Angst!
While I’ll never forgive Mr. Bolton for staying quiet when it mattered, I’m quite confident that everything in the book is accurate and at least it is in time to help Trump lose the election.Those who refuse to believe they are simply continuing to lie to themselves about the huge mistake they made in 2016.It’s not too late to wake up and snap out of it. Or, if you’re fully aware and STILL support this traitorous president, it’s never too late to re-grasp your lost conscience and turn your life around.
Just. Do. It The Room Where It Happened.
What a fascinating inside scoop.I was impressed by the sheer detail and clear accuracy of The Room Where It Happened ebook.I’m more disappointed in anything, that the country has been run this way for this long.
As a Republican, I am absolutely not voting for Trump, between all the trusted accounts like Mattis or Bolton, his refusal to take racism seriously, and his denial of Coronavirus’ threat.
People will disagree, but it’s so obvious now that he conned us. I’m sick and tired of defending every moronic or selfish thing he does, and seeing him act like an authoritarian on a daily basis is making a mockery out of the US.