Former deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove told “The Daily Briefing” Thursday that John Bolton’s forthcoming memoir and President Trump’s angry reaction to it raises one question: “What the heck were these two guys doing in the same room?”
Rove told host Dana Perino that the book “is not helpful to the president, chews up valuable time, reinforces the sentiments that are against him and raised questions… [like] what the heck were these two guys doing in the same room?”
The former George W. Bush adviser was responding to an interview Trump gave The Wall Street Journal about Bolton’s book.
“The only thing I liked about Bolton was that everybody thought he was crazy..." Trump told the paper. "When you walk into the room with him, you're in a good negotiating position because they figure you're going to war if John Bolton was there."
“I wonder why these two men wanted to work together in the first place?” Perino asked Rove
“Good question,” Rove answered. “If they felt as deeply about each other as it appears that they have from their post-book comments, you wonder why one of them hired the other, and why the other one stayed as long as he did.”
"The biggest impact of this book,” Rove went on, “is going to be that it's going to chew up time that I'm confident the president and his people would rather be spending on something else ...”
“If you like Trump, you're going to believe that the book is a bunch of hooey, and you are going to be for Trump. If you hated him, you’re going to say to yourself ... if you’re Democrat, 'Why didn't you say this earlier?'”
Rove referenced the fact that Bolton refused to testify as part of the impeachment inquiry, despite being subpoenaed by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who scolded Bolton as “no patriot” after excerpts from his book claimed House Democrats committed “impeachment malpractice” by limiting their inquiry to Ukraine.
“At the end of the day historians have to deal with the question: How do we know that?" Rove noted. "And it's only going to be, sort of, the preponderance of evidence that we get from years in the future -- from people's contemporaneous notes that are in the president's archives or from other people coming forward and speaking out, either agreeing or disagreeing with John Bolton -- [that] we are going to know if these allegations are true.”
Perino asked Rove if Bolton “had testified [in the impeachment inquiry], or if the book had come out in January before impeachment and everything that’s in John Bolton's book had been out in the public, do you think that any of the Republicans would have voted differently with impeachment?”
“I doubt it,” Rove answered, before acknowledging that he only read the excerpts and not the entire book.
“Are we going to go back and examine every time that a president has maybe talked with foreign leaders about his election? About his reelection? And is that going to be a standard for impeachment?” Rove asked. “I'm not sure that's a good standard to apply.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.