Donald Trump was unaware Britain was a nuclear power, according to leaks from a new book by John Bolton
Bolton, a staunch conservative and former UN ambassador who served for 17 months in the White House, said the president was ‘stunningly uninformed’ in his new memoir, The Room Where It Happened.
The Times reported the book had been leaked to the media despite efforts by the Trump administration to block its publication.
One excerpt told of a 2018 meeting with then prime minister Theresa May in which a UK official referred to Britain as a nuclear power.
Trump is said to have replied: ‘Oh, are you a nuclear power?’
Bolton makes it clear the line was not intended as a joke.
The former ambassador also wrote that at a Nato summit in 2018 Trump had decided to tell allies the US would pull out of the group if other countries did not increase their defence spending, telling Bolton in a message: ‘We will walk out, and not defend those who have not [paid].’
Mr Trump, however, ultimately did not make such a dramatic threat, with the US staying in the alliance.
Bolton said Trump also asked Chinese president Xi Jinping to help his re-election chances, and had on occasion expressed a willingness to stop criminal investigations involving companies in China and Turkey in order to ‘give personal favours to dictators he liked’.
Bolton also offered confirmation of the charge for which Trump faced an impeachment trial earlier this year – that he had tried to leverage US aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate the son of his rival Joe Biden.
The former Trump official caused controversy by refusing to testify at the impeachment trial, where Mr Trump was acquitted, instead saving his version of events for his book, which brought a deal reportedly worth $2m (£1.5m).