Trump claimed Bolton didn't want him to block Chinese travelers -- but Bolton left months before
President Donald Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton (screengrab)

In a strange moment in a recent Wall Street Journal interview with President Donald Trump, it appears the world leader forgot when his former national security adviser left the administration or forgot who he was talking to, the National Review observed.


In the Wall Street Journal transcript, reporter Michael Bender asks the president about the Chinese and what they knew about the coronavirus early on. Early in the interview, Bender asked Trump about Bolton, but later, he brought the former adviser up again.

"You've talked about holding China accountable for coronavirus. Do you think they sat on that information about the virus in order to tank other economies around the world?" Bender asked the president.

Trump began by answering the question but then brought John Bolton up again.

"They did something because if you look, they had very little outbreak, although now they seem to have an outbreak in Beijing, which is interesting, as of yesterday. But everybody knew they had it. I acted very early. I closed our country to China," Trump began.

"By the way, Bolton disagreed. He thought we shouldn't do it, okay?" Trump continued. He didn't think and you know, I was in a room full of people. You were there. And of the people, I don't know of anybody that thought I should do it. That was a decision I made because I was seeing and hearing that China has a big problem."

Bolton either quit or was fired on Sept. 10, 2019. Trump didn't close off travelers to China until Jan. 31, 2020.

"Did you consult with Bolton on coronavirus?" asked Bender.

"No. I lost respect for Bolton's intellect fairly early in the process," replied Trump.

Read the full Wall Street Journal interview.