Bolton to a Mocking Colbert: 'I Couldn't Believe It Was That Bad'

'Late Show' host grills former national security adviser, pokes fun at how 'naive' he was on Trump
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2020 9:10 AM CDT
Updated Jun 24, 2020 9:30 AM CDT

Former national security adviser John Bolton popped in Tuesday for a guest appearance on Stephen Colbert's Late Show, and it probably didn't go as he'd envisioned it. Bolton, who's been making the rounds to promote his upcoming tell-all book, was grilled by an "unimpressed" Colbert, per the Daily Beast, which adds that Bolton was "dressed down" by the late-night host. "When the cameras are off, what's the conservative opinion of Donald Trump?" Colbert asked. Although Bolton has said he won't be voting for Trump in November (or for Joe Biden), he told Colbert that "whatever we think of [Trump], he's not going to be a Democrat subject, especially these days, to the pressure of the left"—a remark which elicited laughter from Colbert.

"No, he's going to be subject to the pressure of Vladimir Putin! And Xi Jinping!" Colbert exclaimed. "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?" Bolton stammered that he got Colbert's point, but that in 2016 his attitude was "we at least have to try it out." Then Colbert pressed Bolton further: "How did you not know beforehand that he was just callow?" Bolton's reply: "Because I couldn't believe it was that bad." Colbert laughed again, asking, "But you're an international negotiator, how could you be naive?" Bolton (seemingly) jokingly said he felt "insulted" by Colbert's characterization of him, noting, "I thought it was possible to work with somebody." Watch more here, including where Colbert actually got Bolton to laugh. (More Stephen Colbert stories.)

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