Former White House national security adviser John Bolton said in a Tuesday interview on CNN that the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was not a coup based on his intimate knowledge of planning coups.
Bolton told CNN host Jake Tapper that people are too quick to label Jan. 6 an attempted coup by former President Donald Trump and his supporters. He argued that Trump was incapable of pulling off a “carefully planned coup d’état.”
“It’s also a mistake, as some people have said, including on the Committee and the commentators, that somehow this was a carefully planned coup d’état aimed at the Constitution. That’s not the way Donald Trump does things,” Bolton told Tapper. “It’s rambling from one half vast idea to another. One plan that falls through, and another comes up. That’s what he was doing.”
Jake Tapper follows up on John Bolton’s past coup planning.
Bolton: “I’m not going to get into the specifics, but–”
Tapper: “Successful coups?”
Bolton brings up the failed Venezuelan coup, prompting Tapper to add: “I feel like there’s other stuff you’re not telling me.” pic.twitter.com/bJAa07h8Ow
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) July 12, 2022
Bolton said Trump’s actions were “not an attack on our Democracy.” He made it clear he wasn’t defending Trump, but said the riot was a “once in a lifetime occurrence.”
Tapper argued that Trump didn’t need to be a brilliant mastermind to pull off a successful coup. Bolton disagreed, citing his past experience planning coups. (RELATED: Poll: Voters Couldn’t Care Less About The Jan 6 Hearings)
“As somebody who has helped plan coup d’état — not here, but, you know, other places — it takes a lot of work. And that’s not what he did,” Bolton said to Tapper.
Elite impunity is so powerful our criminals can just blurt it out on TV. https://t.co/1NrDSRd0BY
— Matt Duss (@mattduss) July 12, 2022
Tapper later asked Bolton to explain the coup attempts he was referring to, but Bolton said he wasn’t going to talk about it.
“I’m not going to get into the specifics, but well, I wrote about Venezuela in the book,” Bolton responded. “It turned out not to be successful. Not that we had all that much to do with it, but I saw what it took for an opposition to try and overturn an illegally elected president, and they failed.”
Would be nice if Congress looked into that whole John Bolton orchestrating coups thing
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) July 13, 2022
It is not typical for a former U.S. official to acknowledge their or the U.S. government’s participation in international coups.