As national security officials and some trade advisers in the Trump administration tried crafting get-tough-on-China policies to address what they viewed as America’s greatest foreign policy challenge, they ran into opposition from an unexpected quarter.
President Trump himself was undermining their work.
That has been the underlying tension of the last three and a half years, laid out in blunt language in the new memoir by John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser. The book supports what administration officials have said in interviews and private discussions since 2017, and what, in many ways, had been out in the open in Mr. Trump’s fawning statements about China’s authoritarian leader, Xi Jinping, many made on Twitter.
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