National Security Advisor John Bolton conspicuously refuses to agree with Donald Trump that the United States “gave nothing away” to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un during the world leaders’ summit meetings.
On Sunday morning’s edition of CBS News’ Face the Nation, host Margaret Brennan pressed Bolton about the gains that Kim made as a result of the two summits. She pointed out that while these negotiations are ongoing, Kim “can still produce nuclear fuel.”
“And as you saw after the President left Hanoi, Kim Jong-un stayed there,” she added. “I mean he was walking around touring hot spots in Vietnam. He no longer looks like a pariah. Didn’t he gain from this?”
“I don’t think that’s the President’s view at all,” Bolton replied.
“He sat across from the President almost as if an equal,” Brennan pointed out.
“He, he did that in Singapore,” Bolton stammered. “The President’s view is he gave nothing away.”
“But do you actually believe that?” Brennan asked.
“The President’s view is he gave nothing away,” Bolton said. “That’s– that’s what matters, not my view. As I’ve said before, I guess I can’t get people to listen so I’ll try it one more time. I’m the national security advisor. I’m not the national security decision maker.”
Brennan pointed out Bolton’s past “skepticism” of direct diplomacy with Kim, and Bolton did not disavow them, saying “those views are out there. Anybody can read them.”
“My job now is to help the President, give him his advice, give him my advice,” Bolton added. “He’ll make the decisions.”
At the first Kim summit in Singapore, Trump saluted a North Korean General, and suspended military exercises with South Korea, while adopting North Korea’s “war games” terminology. In Hanoi, Trump moved off of the long-held U.S. negotiating position of complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization before sanctions are lifted.
Bolton appeared on three of the Sunday shows, and while he tried to shine up the Hanoi summit as best he could, he also conspicuously distanced himself from Trump over slain American Otto Warmbier and revealed that it was Kim Jong Un who “walked away” from Trump’s offer at the summit.
Watch the clip above, from CBS.
[Image via screengrab]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]