WASHINGTON: There are no formal plans for US President Donald Trump to mediate between India and China following their border clash, the White House said amid an uproar in Washington over massive concessions he has allegedly made to Beijing on trade and human rights front in order to win a re-election in November 2020.
In brief comments on the India-China situation, White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany said the US President is aware of the border clash and Washington is monitoring the situation along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh. “We’ve seen that the Indian Army statement that 20 Indian soldiers died as a result of the confrontation today, and we extend our deepest condolences on that,” she said, while confirming that Trump and Modi had discussed the situation on the India-China border in a June 2 phone-call.
Trump himself remained conspicuously silent on the clash, after having offered to mediate between the two sides and claiming that Modi was in a “bad mood” about ties with China.
The circumspect reaction from US to the bloody border spat came amid a domestic tumult over Trump’s conduct of foreign policy, which according to former National Security Advisor John Bolton, includes selling out democratic allies to appease China so that it buys vast amounts of American agricultural products, which in turn would enable Trump to win the farm states that could give him a second term in the White House.
“Trump’s conversations with Xi reflected not only the incoherence in his trade policy but also the confluence in Trump’s mind of his own political interests and US. national interests. Trump commingled the personal and the national not just on trade questions but across the whole field of national security. I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my White House tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations,” Bolton writes in his forthcoming memoir that White House lawyers are trying to stop because it ostensibly reveals “classified information.”
Another explosive recollection in the book centers on Indian-American Nikki Haley, a former US envoy to the U.N., who according to Bolton is preferred by Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner as the vice-presidential candidate in 2020, replacing Mike Pence.
“Trump also raised the widespread political rumor he would dump Pence from the ticket in 2020 and run instead with Haley, asking what I thought,” Bolton writes. “White House gossip was common that Ivanka and Kushner favored this approach, which tied in with Haley’s leaving her position as UN Ambassador in December 2018, thus allowing her to do some politicking around the country before being named to the ticket in 2020.”
During that conversation, Bolton claims Trump told him about a dinner he had with Haley and Tillerson, where Trump alleged that Tillerson that called her a “c***.”
As expected, Trump trashed his former aide calling him a “liar” and a “disgruntled boring fool” who only wanted to go to war. “Wacko John Bolton’s “exceedingly tedious”(New York Times) book is made up of lies & fake stories. Said all good about me, in print, until the day I fired him. Never had a clue, was ostracized & happily dumped. What a dope!” the President tweeted after unloading on Bolton on Fox News and WSJ.
“Bolton’s book, which is getting terrible reviews, is a compilation of lies and made up stories, all intended to make me look bad. Many of the ridiculous statements he attributes to me were never made, pure fiction. Just trying to get even for firing him like the sick puppy he is!” he tweeted a few hours later. Trump too had praised Bolton when he hired him.
But their falling out and Bolton’s subsequent disclosures is causing turmoil in Washington, with the foreign policy establishment thrown completely off kilter. In fact, Bolton writes in the book that Trump’s conduct at crucial talks is so crazy and unpredictable that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo passed him a note during talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that “he (Trump) is so full of shit.”
Pompeo meanwhile concluded seven hours of talks in Hawaii on Wednesday with Chinese mandarin Yang Jiechi amid confusion over the state of their ties. Despite claims by Bolton and other Trump critics that the President was privately selling out to the Chinese, differences persisted between the two sides going by the readouts from Beijing.
Asked to characterize the current state of relations between Trump and Xi in the context of China’s escalation on the Indian border, White House’s spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany segued into Trump’s gripe with China on the coronavirus issue.
“I would just say what the President … is really appalled at the fact that the coronavirus came out of China. They weren’t allowing flights into China but were allowing flights out. They slow-walked information. So that is an appalling state of events, and the President is very upset by that action of China — or inaction,” she said.