Donald Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton claimed the British prime minister is playing his old boss “like a fiddle.”
In an interview with Channel 4 News Thursday, Bolton also said that there was a “sea change” in president-to-prime-minister relations when Theresa May was replaced by Boris Johnson in July 2019. Bolton knew Johnson from his time as foreign secretary.
Earlier this week Bolton released an explosive account of his time in the Trump White House, with some of the book’s content having leaked to U.S. media the previous week. Among the book’s most striking details was the claim that the president asked China for help with his reelection bid — and that he was unaware the U.K. was a nuclear power.
Bolton told Channel 4 News that Johnson and Trump’s good relationship was positive for the U.K. as “Trump can’t distinguish between his personal relationships with a counterpart leader and the actual state of the national relationships between two countries.”
He added: “I do think that Johnson’s determination to effect Brexit was something that the president appreciated. I don’t think he had confidence in the May government’s negotiating strategy.”
Asked if Johnson did the right thing by “sucking up to” Trump by Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow, something that opposition leaders have often claimed, Bolton implied Johnson was in fact using the president.
“I wouldn’t describe it as sucking up to him. I’ve known Boris before he was prime minister. I think he’s got a good sense of humor and I had the sense that behind those twinkling eyes he was playing Trump like a fiddle.”
The second round of U.S.-U.K. trade talks began June 15.
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