Donald Trump wanted Covid-19 to “take out” his former national security adviser John Bolton, a new book is set to reveal, as a heated summer of further colourful revelations about the controversial former president spills out from competing tomes.
The forthcoming Nightmare Scenario will stake out the claim, in addition to telling of how Trump advocated shipping Americans who contracted coronavirus while abroad to the prison at Guantánamo Bay.
Other tell-alls about various aspects of the chaotic Trump administration will compete to be the next bestseller about the controversial previous occupant of the White House.
Nightmare Scenario, by the Washington Post’s Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, gives an account of Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic, and how members of his administration tried to stifle health agencies and doctors from giving the public the right information about the virus that arrived on his watch and so far has killed more than 600,000 Americans.
Irked by Bolton, who had just written an explosive book about his time at the White House, which Trump tried and failed to block last year, Trump wished his former aide ill, according to the Axios website on Wednesday.
At one meeting in 2020, the book reveals, the national economic council director, Larry Kudlow, stifled a cough as people in the room around him froze.
“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,’” the authors wrote, adding that Trump then said: “‘John Bolton … Hopefully Covid takes out John.’”
The conversation is just one of several narrated in the book, which recounts new details of how Trump claimed the virus would “just disappear”, while ridiculing public health experts.
Then just a month out from the November 2020 election, Trump announced that he and first lady Melania Trump had contracted the virus.
When asked by Axios about the quote, Bolton said: “Fooled me – I thought he was relying on his lawyers.”
Nightmare Scenario will be out next Tuesday, and is part of a barrage of books set to unravel the former president’s final year.
Bolton published The Room Where It Happened last year, about his time as national security adviser in 2018 and 2019. The brewing discontent between the men came to a climax in September 2019 when Bolton lobbied to stop Trump from signing a peace agreement with the Taliban at Camp David, a successful endeavour Bolton then wrote about.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker will be out on 20 July with I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year, just ahead of Michael Wolff’s Landslide on 27 July.
I Alone Can Fix It, picks apart the greatest challenges of Trump’s final year – the pandemic, protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, the presidential election and the insurrection at the Capitol by the then president’s own supporters, and sets about to reveal who emboldened and who dissuaded Trump in his decisions.
The title of Leonnig and Rucker’s book harkens back to a 2016 Republican national convention speech where Trump painted himself as America’s redeemer by saying, “I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves. Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”
The duo chronicled the first three years of the Trump presidency in #1 bestseller, A Very Stable Genius.