US elections

Trump, Biden unfit to be US President, ex-NSA John Bolton tells Al Arabiya English

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Neither billionaire Donald Trump nor the current US leader Joe Biden are fit to be the next American president, the former National Security Adviser and US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, told Al Arabiya English.

Speaking to Riz Khan, Republican party member Bolton said he does not favor Trump or Biden and called the system and its 2020 repeating choice of candidates “very disappointing.”

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“I think it’s very disappointing that our system looks like it’s going to produce a rematch of 2020. Seventy percent of the people in many polls say they don’t want it. I think it’s unfortunate. I wish we had a new generation contesting for the office…” Bolton said in the interview.

“…a large group of people don’t like either candidate. So ultimately, the election will be decided by which one they like less and then they’ll vote for the other one. That’s a terrible way to have elections,” he said.

He added that international crises and the US presence and involvement foreign affairs will have an impact on the 2024 elections.

“I think the White House is worried that for all of their diplomatic efforts, we’ve got a war in Ukraine, we’ve got war in the Middle East, we’ve got tensions across the Taiwan Strait, all of which are going to have economic consequences,” Bolton said.

Trump ‘unfit’

The former US official, who worked in the Trump administration in 2018 and 2019, said that the ex-president lacks a working knowledge in many areas and national interest.

“My basic conclusion after serving in the White House with him for 17 months was that he was not fit to be president. And part of the reason is he doesn’t know how the federal government works. He didn’t know much when he came in. He didn’t know very much more when he left. He doesn’t really care. He doesn’t think in terms of the national interest. He thinks in terms of his own interest. He doesn’t have a political philosophy. He doesn’t think in policy terms. It’s all opportunistic and transactional. So, it’s very hard to predict what Trump is going to do,” Bolton shared about his experience with Trump.

Bolton has time and again lashed out at Trump’s inefficiencies as a leader, repeated numerous times across interviews and in his book. He has claimed that Trump could pull out of NATO, a crucial international alliance that safeguards European and North American member states.

And in a time when Russia gears up for the third year of the war in Ukraine, China is threatening to invade US-ally Taiwan, and a war rages in the Middle East, alliances and mutual support are the backbone of a globalized economy.

When asked whether Trump was a bigger threat than Iran, Bolton said: “I’d give Iran the win there. I think Trump is an aberration. I think when he passes from the scene, America will get back on its feet. He’s caused a lot of damage. If he’s elected in a second term, he’ll cause more damage.”

Trump is currently facing a barrage of legal troubles – from conspiring to subvert the results of the 2020 election to allegedly mishandling classified information after leaving the White House.

His unpredictability is also widely acknowledged as a cause of concern for many Americans.

‘Better off’ without Biden

Bolton carries a similar disinterest in Biden as another four-year-term President for the US.

“I think the country would be better off if the president [Joe Biden] decided to retire gracefully from the stage. But that doesn’t appear to be in the cards. And therefore, I think it’s going to be a very bitter partisan election, which is also not a good thing,” Bolton said.

With the global conflicts in the picture, the ex-NSA official said that in a closely contested election, “these international crises could undercut Biden’s appearances as a president who is able to lead.”

The latest test for partisan communities is the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Since the outbreak of war between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas militant group in Gaza, over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire. The Biden administration has widely supported Israel in its war, which it claims is being carried out in self-defense and aims to eradicate the Iran-backed Hamas.

This has resulted in a divide in the voter base for both candidates, more so Biden.

On Tuesday, Biden and Trump won the Michigan primaries. Yet early results from the state highlighted some of their biggest political vulnerabilities ahead of the November general election. A vigorous “uncommitted” campaign organized by activists unhappy with Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza threw a veil over the results.

Biden’s age is another key issue on the minds of voters. The 81-year-old was declared “fit for duty” with no new health concerns on Wednesday. Pre-existing conditions, including a stiff walk due to wear and tear in his spine and a minor heart valve issue, remain.

Both Biden and Trump, 77, have accused each other of a decline in their mental capacities.

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