Former National Security Adviser John Bolton claims in his yet-to-be-released memoir that US President Donald Trump was unaware in 2018 that one of America's closest allies, the UK, has nuclear weapons, The Washington Post reports, citing an obtained copy of the book.
According to Bolton's account, during a 2018 meeting with then British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump was surprised to hear a UK official referring to the country as a "nuclear power", despite the fact that London obtained its first such weapon back in 1952.
The memoir claims that Trump at the time wondered "Oh, are you a nuclear power?" in a tone that led the former national security adviser to believe that POTUS was genuinely unaware of the fact that London had nukes in its arsenal.
Bolton brings up an account from another meeting between the president and the British prime minister that could support the former national security adviser's allegation.
During a meeting with Theresa May in June 2019, Trump argued that nuclear weapons were a far greater threat to the world than climate change or anything else. However, when he was asked by the British prime minister what the implications of his position on the weapons would be for the UK's nuclear arsenal, POTUS was taken aback, Bolton claims.
"In his view, this was all about the US and Russia. He didn’t really factor in the other countries", the former US official said in his book.
The first teasers from the book, which is currently expected to hit shelves on 23 June, sparked a reaction from the White House. The Trump administration insists that Bolton can't publish the book, as it allegedly contains classified information that has not been approved for public release. The memoir has been under review for months now, with the date of its publication having been postponed several times.
In a recent move, the Department of Justice requested that a federal judge issue an order to temporarily block the book's release, citing alleged classified content in it.