Trump blocked former top aide from meeting Dalai Lama: Bolton claims

Former US National Security Adviser John Bolton with President Trump in the Oval Office in Washington, DC, on 28 September 2018.

Former US National Security Adviser John Bolton with President Trump in the Oval Office in Washington, DC, on 28 September 2018. File photo/Getty Images/The Washington Post/Oliver Contreras

By Lobsang Wangyal

ON THE WEB, 25 June 2020

US President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser (NSA) John Bolton in a tell-all book has said that Trump denied a request by former United States ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley to meet with the Dalai Lama.

The 600-page book, titled The Room Where It Happened, was released on Tuesday. Among the many explosive revelations in the book, there are two take-aways for Tibetans, albeit in a negative context.

In the book, Bolton writes that Haley sought Trump’s permission in June 2018 to take a diplomatic envoy to India to meet with the Dalai Lama.

“The purpose of this trip was unclear, other than getting a photo op with the Dalai Lama, always good for an aspiring pol,” Bolton writes. “But the minefield she strayed into by raising the China trade issue showed a political tin ear: Once Trump wondered how China would view Haley’s seeing the Dalai Lama, the trip was essentially dead.”

Most notably, Bolton claims that Trump asked China to use its economic power to help him in his re-election in the 2020 US elections in November, according to numerous reports. This wipes the high expectations for Trump by many Tibetans that he would raise the Tibetan issue, and particularly their view that he is confronting China.

“Make sure I win,” Trump allegedly told Chinese President Xi Jinping during a dinner at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, in June 2019. “I will probably win anyway, so don’t hurt my farms. Buy a lot of soybeans and wheat and make sure we win.”

Giving his judgment, Bolton, after serving 17 months as President Trump’s top national security official, has said that Trump cares only about his re-election, even if it meant endangering or weakening the nation. “I don’t think he’s fit for office. I don’t think he has the competence to carry out the job.”

Blasting Bolton for the book The Room Where It Happened, Trump last week on Twitter called it “a compilation of lies and made up stories, all intended to make me look bad”.

The Trump administration tried to have the book blocked from publication, alleging it contained “classified information”, but federal judge Royce C Lamberth of the District of Columbia denied the request.

“This was Bolton’s bet: If he is right and the book does not contain classified information, he keeps the upside; but if he is wrong, he stands to lose his profits from the book deal, exposes himself to criminal liability, and imperils national security,” the judge said.

Publisher Simon & Schuster reportedly paid Bolton an advance of $2 million, plus sales profits, for his tell-all book, but if he is found to have revealed any “classified information’, the $2-million advance may be forfeited and he may be liable to criminal prosecution for violating nondisclosure agreements.

Bolton, a security expert, who served as Trump’s third national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019, left the White House after numerous disagreements with the president.

Trump will face presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the November elections.

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