- President Donald Trump’s idea of meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in person at the Korean border surprised his top advisers, according to former national security advisor John Bolton.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described it as “total chaos,” Bolton wrote in his upcoming memoirs.
- “I felt sick that a stray tweet could actually lead to a meeting, although I consoled myself a little because I thought Trump was motivating the reporting and photo op of this unprecedented DMZ meeting, nothing essential,” Bolton wrote .
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President Donald Trump̵
Bolton’s account of the sequence of events comes from his upcoming treatise “The Room Where It Happened”. In the book, Bolton told how he discovered Trump’s propensity to meet with Kim at the border in 2019 – via the President’s Twitter account.
On an afternoon Tweet In June, Trump said he would agree to meet Kim during his tour of East Asia “just to shake hands and say hello.”
“Mulvaney showed me a tweet on his phone and asked if I knew what I didn’t know,” Bolton wrote, referring to the then-White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.
Bolton described Mulvaney as “as stunned as I am” with the tweet that the consultant initially considered a “disposable article”.
Mulvaney later consulted with Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on preparing a formal invitation to the North Korean regime. Bolton, a pronounced hawk in North Korea, firmly declined the meeting and described it as political theater in the name of Trump’s optics.
“I felt sick that a stray tweet could actually lead to a meeting, although I consoled myself a little because I thought Trump was motivating the reporting and photo op of this unprecedented DMZ meeting, nothing essential,” Bolton wrote .
Pompeo also seemed to agree with Bolton behind closed doors.
“I have no added value,” said Pompeo privately, according to Bolton. “This is total chaos.”
Despite Pompeo’s confusion over developments, Bolton wrote that he was “inferior again” by connecting the later meeting.
Trump met Kim at the military demarcation line that separated the border around 3:45 p.m. Local time and shook the hand of the leader – a scene similar to the first summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April 2018.
After a few brief comments, Kim Trump welcomed crossing the border onto the North Korean side of the border. Trump briefly crossed the line and took several steps to North Korea. He became the first seated U.S. president to do so.
The two leaders later held a 45-minute bilateral meeting at the Freedom House on the south side of the DMZ. After the meeting, Trump led Kim back to the military demarcation line.
“To be honest, I was surprised when I saw the President express his intentions,” said Kim at the meeting, adding that he didn’t know until late afternoon that he would “officially” meet Trump.
Bolton was fired from his post in September 2019 and eventually replaced by Robert O’Brien, Trump’s fourth national security advisor. His book contains numerous unflattering reports about the Trump administration, including one that claims Trump has endorsed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s efforts to build concentration camps for Uyghur Muslims.
The White House, who scolded the book and called it “exposed” fiction, filed a lawsuit to prevent the book from being published. The Trump administration argues that Bolton violated confidentiality agreements and the information contained in the memoirs would jeopardize the secret state secrets.