John Bolton says the foreign coups he helped plan were necessary to protect 'America's best interests'

John Bolton says the foreign coups he helped plan were necessary to protect 'America's best interests'
Former National Security adviser John Bolton (R) speaks on stage during a public discussion at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina on February 17, 2020.Logan Cyrus / AFP via Getty Images
  • John Bolton said the coups he helped plan were necessary to protect America's "best interests."
  • Bolton made headlines last week by admitting on CNN that he helped plan coups in "other places."

Former national security adviser John Bolton says the foreign coups he was involved in planning were in "America's best interests."

In conversation with Newsmax host Eric Bolling on Friday, Bolton elaborated on comments he made to CNN last week about his involvement in foreign coups.

"This is something that some of the snowflakes on the left were kind of shocked at. But when you're looking out for America's best interests, you do what's necessary to protect those interests," Bolton told Bolling.

Bolton said his involvement in the failed attempt in 2019 to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was a "good example" of a coup he was linked to. In his memoir, Bolton detailed how the planned attempt against Maduro — the heir to Hugo Chávez — fell apart after an insurrection against the strongman failed to materialize.

Bolling pressed Bolton on where else the US had been involved in regime changes. Bolton refused to comment, saying the information was classified.


Bolton was then queried on whether he thought the Iraq War was an example of a coup d'état. Bolton was part of the Bush administration in 2003, where he helped push Bush's justification for war — the now-debunked theory that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

"I wouldn't consider Iraq a coup d'état, although it had the effect of regime change," Bolton said, calling the war the "right thing to do."

Bolton also said he was not in favor of "foreign wars" to promote democracy, saying that he advocated instead for a "strong American foreign policy" that showed adversaries that the US would not be taken advantage of.

Bolton first weighed in candidly on his participation in foreign coups when speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper last week, where he commented on how Trump was likely too incompetent to carry out a carefully planned coup.

"You have to understand the nature of what the problem of Donald Trump is. He's — to use a Star Wars metaphor — a disturbance in the Force," Bolton said of Trump, arguing that the former president's actions on January 6 were less an attack on US democracy than it was Trump "looking out for Donald Trump."


When Tapper told Bolton that one "doesn't have to be brilliant to attempt a coup," Bolton disagreed.

"As somebody who has helped plan coup d'état, not here, but other places, it takes a lot of work," he said.