CBS reporter asks Trump why he hires people 'that you believe are wackos and liars' amid Bolton book furor

CBS News White House correspondent Paula Reid asked President Trump Thursday why he kept "hiring people that you believe are wackos and liars" following Trump's angry reaction to claims made by former National Security Adviser John Bolton in a forthcoming book.

Trump did not respond to Reid's question, which came at the end of a White House roundtable with state governors on reopeing small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.


Earlier Thursday, Trump described Bolton as a "Wacko" and accused him of scuppering negotiations with North Korea about the future of that country's nuclear program.

"When Wacko John Bolton went on Deface the Nation [CBS' 'Face The Nation'] and so stupidly said that he looked at the 'Libyan Model' for North Korea, all hell broke out. Kim Jong Un, who we were getting along with very well, went 'ballistic', just like his missiles - and rightfully so," Trump said.

Earlier this month, Trump launched a similar rhetorical attack on former Defense Secretary James Mattis after Mattis criticized his handling of unrest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

"Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General," the president said at the time.

Reid drew Trump's wrath in April during a coronavirus task force brefing after she suggested that he didn't respond quickly enough to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump responded by calling her "disgraceful."

Reid was also criticized earlier this month for opining that Trump wasn't helping his optics by visiting Maine, which she described as "one of the whitest states in America," at the height of nationwide rioting following Floyd's death.

Bolton taking a role in the Trump administration was viewed by many observers as incongruous, given Trump's opposition to overseas intervention and Bolton's support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq as well as regime change in Iran.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Wednesday, Trump indicated that he was put off by Bolton from the beginning of his 17-month tenure at the White House.

"He had a lot of policy disputes, he and I," the president said. "And after the first month or so, you know, I asked him one question. I said, 'So, do you think you did the right thing by going into Iraq?' He said, 'Yes.' And that’s when I lost him. And that was early on. That’s when I lost him."


Trump added that he told Bolton "you've lost me." "But when he told me he still thinks it was the right thing to do, and was unable to explain it to me, I said, 'Explain that to me, because I don’t think you can.’ And he could not explain it to me," Trump said.

"So I said, 'Do you say that just to make yourself feel good? Or do you say that because you really believe it?' He said, 'I really believe it.' I said, 'Well, then you’ve lost me because it’s just wrong.'"