It Took Stephen Colbert to Finally Do the Interview John Bolton Really Deserves

“How could you be naive?”

Douliery Olivier/Abaca/Zuma

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For the past week, former national security adviser John Bolton has been touting his new tell-all book as an indictment of Donald Trump and of the president’s weak-willed surrender to foreign leaders. But rather than indulging in Bolton’s revelations, comedian Stephen Colbert asked the salient question: Why did he ever trust Trump in the first place?

“What I thought in 2016 was, we at least have to try it out,” Bolton, a notorious foreign policy hawk who advocated for the Iraq War, said in an appearance on The Late Show. “And so I voted for Trump. Having experienced 17 months of working with him, I can’t in good conscience do that again, and that’s why I’m not gonna vote for him, and I’m not gonna vote for Biden.”

“I guess what’s exasperating is there is absolutely nothing that Donald Trump has done that is surprising to me,” Colbert replied. “How did you not know beforehand that he was just callow?”

“Because I couldn’t believe it was that bad,” Bolton said. “And I know other people say they saw it from the beginning—”

“But you’re an international negotiator,” Colbert shot back. “How could you be naive? You’ve dealt with the worst people in the world.”

The full video is a delight, with Colbert even managing to get a laugh out of Bolton. Watch it below:

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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