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Trump joked that he hoped COVID-19 'takes out' former national security advisor John Bolton, book says

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US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with senior military leaders at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 9, 2018. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump joked about COVID-19 taking out his former national security advisor John Bolton, who had published a scathing account of serving in the Trump White House, according to a new book.

The anecdote comes from an excerpt published by Axios of "Nightmare Scenario", a book about Trump's handling of the COVID-19 crisis,.

It is written by Washington Post reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, who described how Trump would joke about people falling ill with the disease.

Here's the excerpt:

"Trump had tried to joke about the virus for months, sometimes even mocking people who had become ill. ... At one meeting several months [before Trump got sick], NEC director Larry Kudlow had stifled a cough.

The room had frozen.. ... Trump had waved his hands in front of his face, as if to jokingly ward off any flying virus particles, and then cracked a smile. "I was just kidding," he'd said. "Larry will never get COVID. He will defeat it with his optimism." ..."John Bolton," he had said ... "Hopefully COVID takes out John."

Bolton had served as a national security advisor to Trump before the pair fell out and Bolton left the job in late 2019.

He published an excoriating memoir last year, "The Room Where it Happened," detailing what he claims the chaos and dysfunction of the Trump administration's response to national security crises.

Trump attempted, and failed, to block the publication of the memoir, arguing that it violated Bolton's confidentiality agreements. The Department of Justice last week closed its probe into the book, filing no charges against Bolton.

At the time of the joke, Trump was also tackling the COVID-19 crisis, which has to date claimed the lives of more than 600,000 Americans. In October last year, shortly after his quip about Bolton, the president himself fell seriously ill with COVID-19 and was hospitalized.

When asked about Trump's comments in the book, Bolton told Axios: "Fooled me - I thought he was relying on his lawyers."

Read the original article on Business Insider

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