Former National Security Adviser John Bolton is publishing a tell-all book about his time in the Trump administration. The book is scheduled for release this March, but Bolton’s former Chief of Staff, Fred Fleitz, penned an op-ed for Fox News calling on Bolton to withdraw his book from publication.
“I don’t understand the need for a former National Security Adviser to publish a tell-all book critical of a president he served,” Fleitz said. “Especially during a presidential reelection campaign that will determine the fate of the country. There will be a time for Bolton to speak out without appearing to try to tip a presidential election.”
Fleitz called Bolton’s book release unprecedented and dangerous, citing former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who exited the Obama administration in June 2011. Gates published “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” a book which highlighted the incompetence of both the Obama National Security Council and former Vice President Joe Biden. Gates withheld his publication date for January 2014, understanding his scathing tell-all could have an effect on the 2012 election outcome. Fleitz believes Bolton should uphold Gates’ precedent.
“Gates established a principled precedent on how senior advisers to presidents should write about their experiences,” Fleitz said.
The publication of Bolton’s book could not only affect the 2020 election, it may also mean ramifications for the current Trump administration. Fleitz worries Trump, and future presidents, will be unable to consult their advisors without constantly worrying about information leaking.
“Presidents must be able to candidly consult with their advisers without worrying they will leak these discussions to the press or obtain high-dollar book contracts to publish them,” Fleitz said. “[This book] may set a dangerous precedent since it could discourage future presidents from seeking advice from expert advisers on sensitive national security matters.”