Stephen Colbert slams John Bolton for being 'naive' enough to trust Trump and for thinking Hillary Clinton would have been worse

YouTubeStephen Colbert and John Bolton.
  • Stephen Colbert did not go easy on John Bolton during a Tuesday interview on “The Late Show,” ripping into the former national security adviser for thinking President Donald Trump could be trusted.
  • Bolton said that in 2016 he thought Trump was a much better option than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
  • Describing Bolton as an “international negotiator,” Colbert told him: “How could you be naive? You’ve dealt with the worst people in the world.”
  • “I guess what’s exasperating is there is absolutely nothing that Donald Trump has done that is surprising to me,” Colbert said. “My rule is everything you think about Donald Trump is probably true.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Stephen Colbert did not hold back in a Tuesday-night interview with John Bolton, excoriating the former national security adviser for being “naive” enough to trust President Donald Trump.

The “Late Show” host asked Bolton what conservatives say about Trump behind closed doors.

“I think many of them, in fairness to Trump, look at the comparison – as I did in 2016 with Hillary Clinton – look at the comparison with Joe Biden and say, whatever we think of him, he’s not going to be a Democrat subject, especially these days, to the pressure of the left,” Bolton said. “Look, I bought that argument in 2016.”

Colbert interjected: “No, he’s going to be subject to the pressure of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping! He’s a person willing to sell out the interests of the American people for his own reelection. What could be worse in Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden’s philosophy than betraying your country to a hostile foreign leader, sir?”

“Trust me, I understand that point,” Bolton responded. In his new book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” Bolton wrote that Trump asked Xi, China’s president, to buy US agricultural products to help him win the 2020 election.

“But will you answer that question?” Colbert said.

“I’m trying to,” Bolton replied. “What I thought in 2016 was we at least have to try it out. And so I voted for Trump. Having experienced 17 months of working with him, I can’t in good conscious do that again. And that’s why I’m not going to vote for him, and I’m not going to vote for Biden.”

“I guess what’s exasperating is there is absolutely nothing that Donald Trump has done that is surprising to me,” Colbert said. “My rule is everything you think about Donald Trump is probably true. Because he’s not deep enough to get your socks wet in.

“He’s incredibly readable. That’s why when he ran casinos, the house lost. There’s nothing to learn about him. That’s why he’s essentially a boring person. How did you not know beforehand that he was just callow?”

Bolton said that he “couldn’t believe it was that bad,” though he conceded that “other people say they saw it from the beginning.”

Noting that Bolton, a former US ambassador to the UN, is an “international negotiator,” Colbert said: “How could you be naive? You’ve dealt with the worst people in the world.”

“You’ve really insulted me now by calling me naive,” Bolton said.

“Look, I thought it was possible to work with somebody. I thought surely they would want to learn about the complexities of arms-control negotiations and that sort of thing,” Bolton added. “And as I detail in the book, that turned out not to be true.”

Watch the interview below:

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.