Former national security adviser John Bolton raised eyebrows Tuesday after disclosing that he has helped orchestrate coups d’état.
Speaking with CNN anchor Jake Tapper, Bolton disputed rhetoric that says former President Donald Trump is guilty of orchestrating a coup on Jan. 6.
“It’s also a mistake, as some people have said — including on the committee, the commentators — that somehow this was a carefully planned coup d’état aimed at the Constitution,” Bolton said. “That’s not the way Donald Trump does things. It’s rambling from one half-vast idea to another. One plan that falls through and another comes up. That’s what he was doing.”
When Tapper pushed back and noted that “one doesn’t have to be brilliant to attempt a coup,” Bolton explained why he disagrees — and he cited firsthand experience, though without disclosing details.
“As somebody who has helped plan coups d’état — not here, but other places — it takes a lot of work. And that’s not what [Trump] did. It was just stumbling around from one idea to another,” Bolton said.
Video of Bolton’s admission quickly went viral online, amassing millions of views.
— Justin Baragona (@Justin Baragona)
Later in the interview, Tapper confronted Bolton about his admission.
“I’m not going to get into the specifics,” Bolton said.
“I wrote about Venezuela in the book, and it turned out not to be successful,” he added. “Not that we had all that much to do with it, but I saw what it took for an opposition to try and overturn an illegally elected president. And they failed.”
“I feel like there’s other stuff you’re not telling me,” Tapper shot back.
“I’m sure there is,” Bolton responded before immediately changing topics.
Why is this significant?
Bolton’s government service spanned four Republican presidential administrations and even included a stint as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton, then, is no stranger to the government’s unspoken policy of avoiding the word “coup.”
In fact, Bolton previously said the 2019 Venezuela uprising, to which he referred in his interview with Tapper, was definitely not a coup.
“This is clearly not a coup,” said Bolton, who at the time was then-President Donald Trump’s national security adviser.
What did Paul say?
Sen. Rand Paul responded to Bolton’s admission by saying, “Blocking John Bolton from becoming Sec of State was one of my proudest moments!”
Paul was referring to the Obama-to-Trump presidential transition, in which Bolton was under consideration for secretary of state. However, Paul repeatedly declared he would oppose Bolton’s nomination to any position in the State Department.