During an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, John Bolton, who served as former President Donald Trump's national security adviser, made the stunning admission that "it takes a lot of work" to plan coups d’etat against foreign governments.
While Bolton, who appeared on CNN as part of its analysis of Tuesday’s hearing of the House Select Committee tasked with investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 general election, did not reveal what particular coups he had helped plan, he noted that the Trump administration's efforts to depose Venezuelan leader Nicholas Maduro “turned out not to be successful.”
Bolton said that the Trump administration did not have "much to do with it" and criticized Trump, saying that "the notion that Donald Trump was half as competent as the Venezuelan opposition is laughable.”
You can hear Bolton's remarks in the video below.
When Tapper pointed out that one "doesn’t have to be brilliant to attempt a coup," Bolton gave the following response:
"I disagree with that. As somebody who has helped plan coups d’etat ― not here but, you know, 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. Ultimately, he did unleash the rioters at the Capitol. As to that, there is no doubt.”
Shortly after Bolton issued his comments about Venezuela, Tapper said that he feels "like there’s other stuff you’re not telling me," to which Bolton chuckled.
The United States has a long history of planning coups around the globe, and some of the more notorious ones, particularly in Chile, Argentina, and Nicaragua, were designed to compete with the Soviet Union for global leadership, influence and security within the context of the Cold War.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United States has led or supported wars to determine the governance of a number of countries, notably Afghanistan and Iraq.
According to one study, the U.S. performed at least 81 overt and covert known interventions in foreign elections during the period between 1946 and 2000. Another study found that the U.S. engaged in 64 covert and six overt attempts at regime change during the Cold War.
Bolton's statements angered the general public.
Bolton has become one of Trump’s harshest critics since leaving his administration. His book, The Room Where It Happened, reveals salacious details about his time working in the White House.
Trump has scoffed at all of Bolton’s claims and dismissed him as a liar during interviews and in posts to his official Twitter account when it was still active. He often referred to him as “Wacko Bolton” online.
Trump even attempted to stop the publication of Bolton’s book on grounds that he’d “likely published classified materials” and “exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability,” but the lawsuit was tossed out by a federal judge.
Later, Washington Post reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta revealed in their book Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History that Trump said he hoped COVID-19 would “take out” his former national security adviser.