John Bolton

John Bolton


  • According to his book Surrender is Not An Option, Bolton went to Yale University and graduated with a BA in 1970, making his class “the last all-male class to graduate from Yale College.” During that time, Bolton spent “a lot of time in the Yale Political Union and the Connecticut Inter-Collegiate Student Legislature.” He attended Yale Law School from 1971 to 1974 before becoming an associate at Covington & Burling law firm in Washington. [1]


John Bolton is a Republican attorney and former US ambassador to the UN under President George W Bush. [2], [3] 

He was appointed national security advisor to President Donald Trump and started his tenure on 9 April 2018. [4]

Bolton is connected to some of President Trump’s biggest financiers. He received millions through his Super PAC from billionaire businessman Robert Mercer, the man who bankrolled the Trump campaign, and worked with data firm Cambridge Analytica. [5], [6], [7], [8] 

Until his appointment as an advisor to President Trump, Bolton held a senior fellowship at the American Enterprise Institute, which is funded by fossil fuel magnates the Koch brothers, notorious for backing climate science denial worldwide. [9]

Bolton has made no secret of his contempt for the EU and has publicly called for a hard Brexit which would allow the UK to slash regulations and strike its own free trade deal with the US. [10], [11], [12], [13] 

He has strong ties with the Leave campaign in the UK, having met with leading members of the pro-Brexit European Research Group of MPs in July 2018. He was pictured with Daniel Hannan at the Vote Leave headquarters on the night of the referendum result. [14], [15]

A pro-guns, pro-war advocate, Bolton was described by Financial Times columnist Simon Kuper as “possibly Washington’s most aggressive hawk.” He has held roles in a number of right-wing think tanks and organizations including the National Rifle Association and the Gatestone Institute, which is known for spreading misleading and false anti-Muslims news. Bolton served as the institute’s chairman from 2013 to March 2018. [16], [17], [18], [19], [20]

In September 2015, Bolton was also appointed senior advisor at the Freedom Capital Investment Management company to advise the firm on international security, financial and political risks. The company was known for its rejection of socially responsible investments in the name of ethical or environmental reasons and boasted about its portfolio in oil, coal, and the gun industry. [21], [22]

In a press release sent from the 2015 Paris climate summit, the company claimed the Paris Agreement would have “a negative impact on the US economy” and rejected fossil fuel divestment. [23]

We aim to invest in the same companies stranded by COP21 outcomes and fossil fuel divestment. From our perspective, the more competitors we gain on our side of the ledger, the better chance the US has to survive these UN-driven assaults on our economy. And the market is there, but time is not on our side,” it wrote. [23]

Freedom Capital Investment Management was acquired by a real estate investment company in April 2017. [24]

Bolton has also been a regular contributor and political commentator on Fox News. [25]

Stance on Climate Change

June 1, 2017

Bolton has been a long-time critic of international efforts to reduce emissions and tackle climate change, accusing the UN climate talks of using global warming as an excuse to establish supranational structures of governance. [26]

The overall affect on climate [of the Paris Agreement] by any reputable scientific analysis is zero […] this is really a global governance issue.” [26]

Bolton hailed President Trump’s intention to withdraw the US form the Paris Agreement “an excellent decision.” [26]

December 2015

Speaking to Fox News about Barack Obama’s speech to the UN climate summit in Paris, Bolton said: [27]

Even if you buy the President’s beliefs about man-made causing of global warming, the outcome of this Paris Agreement will be insignificant. [27]

They are attending a church service about climate change and he was just giving the last sermon.” [27]

January 22, 2015

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Bolton said:

I am perfectly prepared to accept that Earth’s temperature is warming and perfectly prepared to accept that part of the increase in temperature is because of human activity.” [28]

January 4, 2015

Bolton has said he believes the issue of climate change is being used by some politicians as a means to “pursue greater governmental control over energy policy and human activity. [28]

According to Bolton, environmentalists “would have exactly the same policies if there was global cooling instead of global warming” and are “fundamentally statist.” [28]

Key Quotes

June 2017

Speaking to Fox News about President Trump’s intention to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement:

It’s an excellent decision. The Paris Accord is a self-licking ice cream cone. In the short-term its existence would have next to no effect. The danger was in the longer term. [26]

What they wanted was an agreement on anything to create the foundation for what they are really interested in which is more international control over national decision-making. This is really a global governance issue, which the Europeans just love and Barack Obama just loves. [26]

We are not going to engage in more blue smoke and mirrors in order to get to more international control. [26]

The fundamental point is that we could be dealing with global cooling here. If the overall objectives was to put more carbon emissions to increase the earth’s temperature, these people would be asking for the same structures. The overall objective is more international governance and less national sovereignty.” [26]


A right-wing libertarian, Bolton has repeatedly advocated for a low-tax, low-regulation society which would include cutting food and environmental regulations. [29]

For example, in an interview with The Objective Standard, Bolt said:

I think that, in terms of choice of government, what we should look for is a government that enhances the possibility of individual freedom and individual activity and reduces the potential for collective government action.” [29]

Key Deeds

February 3, 2021

Bolton wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal criticising US President Joe Biden’s climate change plans. He stated: “The trade-offs are complicated and the politics are difficult and uncertain.” [45]

Bolton argued that taking action on climate change put the US in a disadvantageous position regarding its geopolitical relationship with China, stating: “In Beijing’s eyes, this makes Washington the demandeur—in diplomatic parlance, the one asking for something. It is never a preferred position in negotiations. You want China to take action on climate change? asks Xi Jinping. Let’s talk about what you’re going to give to get it.”

June 24, 2019

Nearly 100 internal documents were leaked to Axios in 2019. As Axios reported, the documents identified a host of “red flags” about many individuals who would go on to work in the Trump administration, as well as others who were considered but failed to secure a position. [44]

Bolton was listed among the documents. Some notable samples from the internal documents below:

In A 2012 Interview, Bolton Called Obama’s Foreign Policy ‘Limp Wristed’ A Term ‘Usually Used As A Slur Against Or Allusion To Gay Men…’”

While Bolton Was Critiquing Obama’s Iran Policy At The 2009 CPAC, He Made A Joke About Iran Nuking Chicago, Saying Maybe Obama Would Take The Iran Threat Seriously If That Happened.”

In 2005, USA Today Reported That Bolton ‘Threw A File Folder And A Tape Dispenser At An American Business Woman In Moscow, Disparaged Her Weight And Alleged She Was Gay In An Attempt To Get Her To Withdraw Criticism Of A Foreign-Aid Project…’”

During his time as U.N. Ambassador, Bolton was accused of bullying career State Department officials and those who challenged his views. Bolton also was accused of accosting women during overseas trips.” [44]

January 2019

Axios revealed Bolton spoke regularly on the phone with International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling — two hard-Brexiters inside Theresa May’s cabinet. A source inside May’s government is reported to have told the website’s Jonathan Swan: “John is a strong believer in Brexit and has been encouraging the Brexiteers to keep it up.” [30]

November 2018

Bolton met then President-Elect Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and hailed him a “like-minded partner.” In a tweet, Bolton said he had invited Bolsonaro to visit the US on behalf of President Trump. “We look forward to a dynamic partnership with Brazil,” he added. [31], [32]

August 2018

The US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wrote a letter to the White House Chief of Staff demanding information be released on Bolton’s security clearance. The committee said it wanted to know whether Bolton had reported his previous work in his capacity as a top official with the National Rifle Association with Maria Butina, a Russian citizen who was exposed as a spy. Butina was arrested in July 2018 for acting as a Russian agent inside the US. [33]

April 2018

Bolton started his tenure as Donald Trump’s national security advisor. [4]

March 2018

The House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee released a trove of documents provided by Cambridge Analytica whistle-blower Christopher Wylie which showed how both SCL Group, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, and Aggregate IQ, the Canadian digital marketing outfit used by the Vote Leave campaign, provided services to Bolton’s “super PAC”, which supports Republican candidates’ election campaigns, during the US 2014 mid-term election. Bolton’s super PAC, which boasts Robert Mercer as its largest donor, has paid Cambridge Analytica more than $1.1 million since 2014 for research, Time magazine reported. [7], [34], [42]

June 2017

Bolton told Fox News President Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement was “an excellent decision.” [26]

July 2016

Bolton met with the unofficial Leave.EU campaign at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, including Nigel Farage. Andy Wigmore, a businessman and prominent associate of Farage and Arron Banks, the campaign’s main funder, was also present at the Convention. [35], [36]

Bolton also attended the private dinner hosted by Theresa May for Donald Trump at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. He was pictured with his UK counterpart, the Number 10’s national security advisor Mark Sedwill. [37]

June 2016

Bolton was pictured with senior Vote Leave campaigner and MEP Daniel Hannan at the Vote Leave headquarters on the night of the EU referendum results. [15]

Speaking on Fox News after the referendum result, Bolton said: “Britain can now rid itself of the sclerotic over-regulation of the Brussels bureaucrats. It can reduce its taxes, reduce regulation, be a much more attractive place for foreign investments. [12]

The European Union has never been about business and economics. It has from its inception been a political project to form a united Europe as an alternative pole to the United States and that project is now on the road to failure.” [12]


Bolton made an appearance at a round-table organized by The Right to Bear Arms in Russia, a group whose leaders Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin are under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Bolton was making the case for the Russian Constitution to be amended and allow broader gun rights. The meeting was organised by Butina, who was later exposed as a Russian spy inside the US. [13]


Social Media



  1. John Bolton. “Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations,” Threshold Editions, 2007. Archived .pngs on file at DeSmog.
  2. William Cummings. “5 facts about John Bolton, Trump’s new national security adviser,” USA Today, March 23, 2018. Archived January 25, 2019. URL:
  3. Jennifer Senior. “Bolton in a China Shop,” New York Magazine, January 9, 2006. Archived January 25, 2019. URL:
  4. David Brennan. “Iran Threatens Trump With Strong Response if Nuclear Deal Fails as Arch-Hawk Bolton Begins National Security Tenure,” Newsweek, April 9, 2018. Archived January 25, 2019. URL:
  5. Chloe Farand. “Meet John Bolton: The Mercer-Backed Trump Advisor Pushing for Post-Brexit Deregulation,” DeSmog, January 24, 2019.
  6. John Bolton Super PAC,” OpenSecrets. Archived January 25, 2019. URL:
  7. Chris Wylie background papers,” Culture, Media and Sport Parliamentary Select Committee. Archived January 25, 2019. URL:
  8. Mat Hope. “Web of Power: Cambridge Analytica and the Climate Science Denial Network Lobbying for Brexit and Trump,” DeSmog, March 21, 2018.
  9. John R. Bolton,” Hoover Institution. Archived January 25, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  10. Richard Gowan. “John Bolton: Don’t Mention the Norms,” European Council on Foreign Relations, March 23, 2018. Archived January 25, 2019. URL:
  11. John Bolton. “Ignore Obama, Brexit will make the Special Relationship even more special,” The Telegraph, March 14, 2016. Archived January 25, 2019. URL:
  12. Bolton: ‘Brexit’ will revive Western security,” Youtube video uploaded by user Fox News on June 24, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  13. As two global commercial powers – both believers in open markets and competition – the UK & US can show how free trade is done right.” Tweet by @AmbJohnBolton, April 3, 2017. Retrieved from Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
  14. Mattha Busby. “UKUS trade deal discussed in secret meeting between Brexiteers and top Trump advisor,” The Independent, July 1, 2018. Archived January 25, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  15. Here is @AmbJohnBolton at the #VoteLeave HQ as the results came in. Britain has few better friends. Congratulations, John.” Tweet by @DanielJHannan, March 23, 2018. Retrieved from Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
  16. Simon Kuper. “Don’t get distracted. John Bolton is a huge threat,” Financial Times, April 4, 2018. URL: Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  17. Tim Mak. “John Bolton’s Curious Appearance In A Russian Gun Rights Video,” NPR, March 22, 2018. Archived January 25, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  18. Former UN Ambassador John R. Bolton Joins Gatestone Institute as Chairman,” Gatestone Institute, July 17, 2013. Archived January 25, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  19. Lee Fang. “John Bolton Chairs an Actual “Fake News” Publisher Infamous for Spreading Anti-Muslim Hate,” The Intercept, March 23, 2018. Archived January 25, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  20. Heidi Przybyla. “John Bolton presided over anti-Muslim think tank,” NBC News, April 23, 2018. Archived January 25, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  21. Freedom Capital Appoints Bolton As Senior Advisor,” Freedom Capital, September 30, 2015. URL: Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  22. Ed Crooks. “Freedom Capital swims against social investment tide,” Financial Times, October 11, 2015. URL: Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  23. Jeff McClure. “Freedom Capital CEO weighs in on COP21,” Freedom Capital, December 7, 2015. Archived January 24, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  24. First Capital Buys Freedom Capital Investment Management,” The DI Wire, April 10, 2017. Archived January 25, 2019. URL:
  25. John Bolton,” Fox News Videos. Archived January 25, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  26. Amb. Bolton: Leaving Paris accord is an ‘excellent decision’,” Youtube video uploaded by user Fox News on June 1, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  27. What did global climate change conference really accomplish?,” MSN, December 1, 2015. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  28. Ben Jacobs. “One GOP Presidential Candidate Believes In Climate Change,” The Daily Beast, January 22, 2015. URL: Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  29. Craig Biddle. “An Interview with John R. Bolton on the Proper Role of Government,” The Objective Standard, August 20, 2011. Archived January 25, 2019. URL:
  30. Jonathan Swan. “Axios Sneak Peek: Mon, Jan 21,” Axios, January 21, 2019. URL: Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  31. Jesus Rodriguez. “Bolton praises Brazil’s Bolsonaro as a ‘like-minded’ partner,” Politico, November 1, 2018. Archived January 25, 2019. URL:
  32. Enjoyed a wide-ranging, very productive discussion w/ Brazil’s President-elect Bolsonaro & his national security team. I extended an invitation from Pres. Trump for @JairBolsonaro to visit the US. We look forward to a dynamic partnership w/ Brazil.” Tweet by @AmbJohnBolton on November 29, 2018. Retrieved from Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
  33. Letter to General Kelly from Elijah Cummings and Stephen Lynch,” August 20, 2018. Archived January 25, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  34. Brexit: Vote Leave broke electoral law, says Electoral Commission,” BBC News, July 17, 2018. Archived January 25, 2019. URL:
  35. Good seeing UK leader Nigel Farage at the #RNCinCLE today. #Brexit”. Tweet by @AmbJohnBolton on July 21, 2016. Retrieved from Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
  36. #NigelFarage still out drinking at 3:30am at the #RNCinCLE in #Cleveland”. Tweet by @NickHarperFSN on July 22, 2016. Retrieved from Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
  37. Good seeing my friend UK National Security Advisor @marksedwill last night at #BlenheimPalace. Enjoyable evening celebrating the USUK special relationship.” Tweet by @AmbJohnBolton on July 13, 2018. Retrieved from Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
  38. Former Commissioners,” United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. URL: Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  39. George Packer. “PNAC and Iraq,” The New Yorker, March 29, 2009. URL: Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  40. Amb. John R. Bolton,” JINSA. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  41. THE 2004 CAMPAIGN: THE CONSERVATIVES,” New York Times, August 28, 2004. URL:
  42. Ryan Teague Beckwith. “Trump’s New National Security Advisor John Bolton Has Links to Cambridge Analytica,” Time, March 23, 2018. Archived February 4, 2019. URL:
  43. Full list: The leaked Trump transition vetting documents,” Axios, June 24, 2019. Archived June 24, 2019. URL:
  44. Full list: The leaked Trump transition vetting documents,” Axios, June 24, 2019. Archived June 24, 2019. URL:
  45. John Bolton. “Beijing Won’t Let America ‘Compartmentalize’ Climate Change,” The Wall Street Journal, February 3, 2021. Archived February 8, 2021. URL:

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