According to a new book
, former President Donald Trump
expressed hope that the coronavirus
would kill his former national security
adviser, John Bolton
According to excerpts from The Washington Post
's Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta's "Nightmare Scenario" obtained and published by Axios
on Wednesday, Trump "had tried to joke about the virus for months, sometimes even mocking people
who had become ill."
Months before being hospitalized with COVID-19
, Trump allegedly “waved his hands in front of his face, as if jokingly warding off any flying
virus particles” after then-National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow stifled a cough in a meeting.
Trump reportedly smiled and said he was "just kidding" because Kudlow would "never get COVID" and "defeat it with his optimism."
“John Bolton,” Trump is said to have added, “and hopefully COVID takes him out.”
According to Abutaleb and Paletta's sources for the book, Trump was serious with his comment.
Bolton served in Trump's administration for 17 months, but relations deteriorated following the publication of his memoir
, in which he accused the ex-president of wrongdoing. The Department of Justice
attempted to prevent the book from being published.
When asked about Trump's alleged remark, Bolton told Axios, "Fooled me — I thought he was relying on his lawyers."
Bolton is now one of the former president's most outspoken detractors.
However, he has faced criticism for not speaking out against Trump during his presidency and for refusing to cooperate with House Democrats
on Trump's impeachment
due to the Ukraine