John Bolton Tells Stephen Colbert He Didn't Believe Trump Was 'That Bad'

John Bolton opened up about President Donald Trump's imperfections, and it was brutal. On an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, the former national security adviser claimed that he didn't think that Trump was "that bad" prior to accepting his position in the administration.

While promoting his recently published tell-all memoir, The Room Where It Happened, Bolton defended his willingness to have Donald Trump as president in 2016. However, he said that he won't be voting for him again this November.

John Bolton, South Korea, North Korea, book
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton speaks during a public discussion at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, on February 17. On "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," Bolton said about Trump, "I thought it was possible to work with somebody. I thought surely they would want to learn about the complexities of arms control negotiations and that sort of thing.… that turned out not to be true." LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images/Getty

The late-night personality could not hold back from grilling Bolton for previously supporting Trump despite his belief that he was "unfit" to be the president. Colbert began the conversation, asking Bolton about what his "fellow long-term conservative Republicans" think about the president.

"Well, look. I think many of them, in fairness to Trump, look at the comparison—as I did in 2016 with Hillary Clinton—look at the comparison with Joe Biden and say, whatever we think of him," Bolton said, "he's not going to be a Democrat subject to the pressure—especially now—of the left. I bought that argument in 2016."

An exasperated Colbert fired back, "No, he's going to be subject to the pressure of Vladimir Putin! And Xi Jinping! He's a person willing to sell out the interest of the American people for his own re-election."

"What could be worse in Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden's philosophy than betraying your country to a hostile foreign leader, sir?" he asked the ambassador.

Bolton defended himself, saying that he thought they at least had to try it out four years ago. He added that he voted for Trump in 2016, but wouldn't this time around. "Having experienced 17 months of working with him, I can't in good conscience do that again," he added. "That's why I'm not going to vote for him, and I'm not going to vote for Biden."

Colbert noted that there was nothing Trump did that surprised him. "My rule is, everything you think about Donald Trump is probably true, because he's not deep enough to get your socks wet in," he said of Trump's flaws. "He's incredibly readable. That's why when he ran casinos, the house lost. There's nothing to learn about him. That's why he's essentially a boring person. How did you not know beforehand that he was just callow?"

"Because I couldn't believe it was that bad," Bolton admitted. "And I know other people say they saw it from the beginning—"

Colbert, shocked, cut off the former national security adviser. "But you're an international negotiator, how could you be naïve?" he insisted. "You've dealt with the worst people in the world!"

"I thought it was possible to work with somebody. I thought surely they would want to learn about the complexities of arms control negotiations and that sort of thing," said Bolton. "As I detail in the book, that turned out not to be true."

The Room Where It Happened, Bolton's memoir about his time working in the West Wing, is available for purchase.