Former President Donald Trump last year reportedly tried to joke about COVID-19 "for months," mocking people who got sick and saying he hoped his former national security adviser, John Bolton, would die from the virus.
That's according to the new book Nightmare Scenario written by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, an excerpt of which was reported Wednesday by Axios. They write that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump "tried to joke about the virus for months, sometimes even mocking people who had become ill."
The book also describes a meeting at which Trump reportedly made comments saying he hoped that Bolton would die from COVID-19.
"At one meeting several months [before Trump got sick], NEC director Larry Kudlow had stifled a cough," the book says, per Axios. "The room had frozen ... Trump had waved his hands in front of his face, as if to jokingly ward off any flying virus particles, and then cracked a smile. 'I was just kidding,' he'd said. 'Larry will never get COVID. He will defeat it with his optimism.' ... 'John Bolton,' he had said ... 'Hopefully COVID takes out John.'"
The book also reportedly cites sources as saying they believed Trump was serious. Bolton last year published a tell-all book about his time in the White House, which the Trump administration unsuccessfully attempted to block from publication. When asked about this quote, Bolton told Axios, "Fooled me — I thought he was relying on his lawyers." A previous excerpt from Nightmare Scenario revealed that Trump reportedly proposed housing COVID-19 patients at Guantanamo Bay.