Watch: John Bolton says Trump is too dumb to pull off a coup



How I WISH people would stop trying to minimize that fact, and how detrimental that insurrection has been to this country…


“This tiger can’t be eating me, it’s not smart enough.”


This would be the same John Bolton who willingly signed up to the Trump regime in order that he could fulfil his own desires to destroy the international order?

Fuck him. Don’t try to redeem this fascist by saying he is better than Trump.


Yes. It was the first time that we didn’t have a peaceful transfer of power.

Maybe that’s a more useful phrasing?


Yeah, hearing someone chortling away, and talking about how Trump isn’t a fascist only because he’s too cognitively impaired, becomes a radically different experience when that person was a willing and eager part of Trump’s administration.

It’s exactly the same phenomenon with all the people Trump disparaged after he booted them from his administration, talking about how they were losers that no one would ever hire… when, of course, he had. It’s ultimately saying a whole lot of terrible things about the speaker, yet they don’t have the self-awareness to realize that - and all these former Trump administration people talking about how horrible he is lack the self-awareness to realize how much like him they are…


Henry exploded and is said to have uttered the words: ‘Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?’



Yeah. Trump’s own words:

“if I was going to do a coup, one of the last people I would want to do it with is General Mark Milley.”

This is a childish statement from someone that has, at a minimum, mulled over the idea.


What the Mustache of War doesn’t understand…okay…one of the MANY THINGS that the Mustache of War doesn’t understand is that it doesn’t matter if Trump is good at coups, or succeeds. He is undermining faith in institutions, normalizing extreme behavior, and making it easier for himself (or whoever) next time.


Ya’ll… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - fascism doesn’t need a high IQ and nth level chess to win. It’s about power, the willingness to use violence, and a cult of personality. Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Stalin… not the smartest people ever. They just got lucky and had the followers and the willingness to USE violence against people… :woman_shrugging:

He did not pull his insurrection off because there were others in the government who would not let it. If he HAD the backing of the military… Jan 6 would have been way different.

What takes brains is pulling off a good society that balances freedoms and the common good. REAL democracy takes smarts, not a society based on brute force.

He really could have.

Force, force, force for that.

The European fascists were not smart guys. They just weren’t.

Sure. He thought he could control him, because he’s so blatantly not smart.

It could have become one.

mood GIF

Los Angeles Anniversary GIF by The Paley Center for Media

Standing Up Yes GIF by SAG Awards

Do we count the reaction of the south when Lincoln was elected as “peaceful”? I mean, it technically was, but his win DID lead to the civil war…


Bolton has no credibility. He could have stood up for his country and our Constitution, but he didn’t. Bolton is a moral half-wit. That being said, it doesn’t matter if Hair Furor is a fascist or not; real anti-democratic authoritarians have been happy to use him and his base to further their agenda of government privatization and concentration of wealth.


To make myself more plain, I know he could. That he should be too dumb was the operative phrase…because a coup should be difficult. Overthrowing the government should require planning and support and secrecy and come with a fair bit of risk attached…when you come for the king, you best not miss and all…instead of just organizing a mob in plain sight and then going home to watch television. This wasn’t what an ordinary coup looks like, because normally this sort of half-assed effort would be a fast track to jail and nothing more.

That it wasn’t, and instead was very close to succeeding, is of course entirely due to Republicans doing their best to make the government as easy to overthrow as possible.


I’m sure they weren’t/aren’t. But I brought up Idi as an example because of the batshit crazy cabinet meeting that he saw fit to invite a documentary film crew into. I’m not personally aware of the inner workings of other dictator governments being put on such public display, although I’m sure there are examples out there.


The linguistic minimization that I personally dislike is calling it “The assault on the Capitol.” Because it wasn’t the BUILDING that they were trying to destroy. It was Congress in particular, and our Democracy in general.


Just like I say when somebody objects to the statement that the country is the most divided it ever has been: “You’re right, but when your counter-example is the Civil War, I don’t like where your logic leads.”


I think it’s critical to avoid the tendency to valorize Milley. While it’s good that he didn’t support Trump’s coup, he was simply being loyal to his institution: the US military and understood that Trump’s loyalty was only to himself (narcissism) and that that path was a dead-end for the military.

John Bolton is right about the loyalty difference here, even if I disagree with him on the details:

I think I have the highest respect for Mark Milley, I think he’s the right person for the job as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. I thought that when I was still in the government, and I think he was doing his best number one to uphold the Constitution, and this was this is where his loyalty and I think the loyalty of all the Chiefs was something Trump fundamentally didn’t understand. He had one concept of loyalty, which is loyalty to Donald Trump. And there is an element of personal loyalty for any senior advisor to the President. But ultimately, your loyalty is to the Constitution.

More important than Milley’s abstract loyalty to the constitution is his deep and savvy loyalty to the institution that raised him through the ranks. Milley understood that allowing Trump to use Milley’s beloved institution (where his deepest loyalties lie) in a dubious coup would have deeply damaged it in the process. Milley is far too canny and savvy for that. Anyone who has thrived in the top brass of the military is likely to be. That’s how promotion is supposed to work.

There’s a really interesting parallel in the story of Floyd Mann, Director of the Alabama Department of Public Safety during the Freedom Rides in 1961. I studied Mann closely last fall in the lead up to the election because I felt it was a relevant case. Mann provided state police protection in Alabama up to the city line of Montgomery on May 20, 1961. Then he personally intervened when racist mobs in the bus station attacked the freedom riders. The story is worth reading in detail here:

While Mann was also quite personally heroic, I think it’s important to look at the parallels between institutional context of Mann and Milley. Both men rose through the ranks of their institutions because they were good at putting the institution first and protecting the institution.

Among other things, Mann’s institutional calculation in 1961 was that he did not want the federal government intruding any further into Alabama then they already had and he understood that if any freedom riders were killed that would significantly curtail his power and institution. In retrospect, it ends up looking like a moral and courageous decision. And that’s how Mann came to see the decision and tell the story in later years.

Similarly, Milley is now openly speaking out against Trump’s fascism, which is useful, but we need to understand both of these men’s wider institutional loyalty. They were both products of their respective institutional culture. That’s how they rose to the top of their respective institution: loyalty to the institution above all else.


If Hitler had been a dictator in the age of more wide spread mass media, he would have employed it. He already used what existed at the time, taking from the US example. Imagine how he’d have used social media. But “smart” and tactically brilliant? Fuck no. He invaded Russia in… late June was it? I guess thinking he’d start a 2 front war, with one front being RUSSIA. I guess he thought that he’d be able to wrap shit up by August and go home and then kill all the untermensch… He ignored that Stalin was as contemptuous of human life as he was, especially of his own people.

To be fair, lots of people say “since the Civil War” and I think that’s true. The 60s were pretty bad, but probably not as bad as right now… And we’re still in the middle of this, too.


Similarly (but with the opposite effect on police conduct), I read an article written during the Umbrella Movement demonstrations which said that the Hong Kong police used force against peaceful protesters because they were determined to maintain their exclusive jurisdiction over law enforcement and public order in the territory.

If they failed to suppress demonstrations to the Chinese government’s satisfaction, they would be giving the central government an excuse to send in the army and/or mainland police forces, who would not be subject to Hong Kong law or accountable to the Hong Kong government. Senior police officers, the article said, believed that by being as ruthless as possible under Hong Kong law and giving “Beijing” no cause for complaint they were protecting Hong Kong from further intrusion by the central government and upholding as far as possible the Hong Kong way of life.


‘Work on policy’ my arse. I’m calling it now: GOP Mid-Term strategy is out in the open right now. Let the pandemic rage through their useful idiots who aren’t gonna let the gummint tell 'em to take no vaccine, then pivot and blame the death toll on Biden. That’s it. And they probably won’t fail


It takes both. A loyal crew who dont know squat about sailing would be useless as pirates. There is some evidence Trump failed to inspire loyalty because he is so stupid (Rex Tillerson, Bolton, Milley). What saved us was that just enough officials believed in our institutions instead of Trump and his bullshit stories. Even Pence of all people wouldnt go along with it.