Watch John Bolton Unload on CNN's Wolf Blitzer Over Alito's Display of Revolutionary War Flags


John Bolton was once the left’s designated conservative whipping boy. Now, George W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations and Donald Trump’s national security advisor has become one of the go-to professional former Republicans who will whine and complain to the media over what the GOP has become since Trump’s 2016 presidential victory.

In other words, for him to say the establishment media narrative on some outrage regarding Trump is petty and stupid is basically inviting summary judgment that it is, on its face, petty and stupid. Thus, perhaps CNN might have wanted to check what Bolton thought about the “breaking news” that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito had flown “a provocative flag embraced by Trump supporters” — to use Wolf Blitzer’s words during the Wednesday segment about Justice Alito — outside one of his houses once upon a time.

They didn’t, and the resulting clip is priceless.

Just to review, in case you hadn’t been keeping up with the vexillological investigations regarding what’s been up Justice Alito’s flagpoles: On May 16, The New York Times reported that — gasp! — Alito’s wife seems to have to flown the American flag upside-down in January of 2021, just before Joe Biden was sworn into office as the 46th president.

This scoop from over three years ago was important, the Times claimed in its headline, because it was “a ‘Stop the Steal’ Symbol on Display.”

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All the paper could verify, mind you, was that it was purportedly in response to a family on Alito’s block who had “displayed an anti-Trump sign with an expletive” and that the justice’s wife was apparently responsible for it — but that was no excuse! He should have control over everything his spouse does, dagnabbit! We now return you to your regularly scheduled two-minutes hate over Harrison Butker telling female graduates from a Catholic school that they should embrace biblical gender roles, the neanderthal brute.

Well, they apparently weren’t done with Alito yet, because another flag with origins dating back to the Revolutionary War — but which was embraced by Trump supporters in the wake of the 2020 election — was seen flying outside Alito’s vacation home in New Jersey in July and September of 2023, the Times reported Wednesday. (Whoever does flagpole coverage for the Gray Lady must be especially busy this election cycle.)

“This time, it was the ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag, which, like the inverted U.S. flag, was carried by rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021,” read the Times’ “scoop,” which carried no less than three names on the byline.

The Times added: “Also known as the Pine Tree flag, it dates back to the Revolutionary War, but largely fell into obscurity until recent years and is now a symbol of support for former President Donald J. Trump, for a religious strand of the ‘Stop the Steal’ campaign and for a push to remake American government in Christian terms.”

Do you watch CNN?

Now, the majority of sensible Americans — yes, even New York Times subscribers — probably saw three people on the Alito-flag beat and the line about how the flag they found this time “dates back to the Revolutionary War” and, quite rightly, tuned out there. But sensible people don’t get shows on CNN, which is why Wolf Blitzer dragged Bolton on “The Situation Room,” assumedly to add some GOP gravitas to whatever argument they were making. They probably should have known better.

When asked whether the flag “raise[d] concerns about whether [Alito] can impartially serve on the U.S. Supreme Court,” Bolton said “absolutely not.”

“I think it is outrageous, outrageous and unacceptable for people to take a flag from the American Revolution and say that because some January 6th protesters flew it, that it’s now unacceptable to fly that flag,” Bolton said. “And I’d like to hear a Democratic Party politician say that expressly.

“The January 6th people flew a lot of flags,” he added. “The Gadsden Flag — ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ — they don’t have the right or the ability to expropriate a patriotic symbol of the United States and then have everybody else say it belongs to them and condemn Sam Alito or anybody else for flying that flag.”

Bolton went on to condemn “this rush to find some reason to criticize Alito.”

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“You know, I first heard about the upside down American flag as being a January 6 symbol when I read about it in the New York Times about a week ago,” Bolton told Blitzer.

“I have no idea what was on Justice Alito’s wife’s mind when she flew it, but if somebody hadn’t told me that they thought it was a symbol of the January 6th people. I wouldn’t have guessed it. I would have thought maybe she was giving the finger to one of her neighbors, and that may not be appropriate either. But I’m telling you, it’s gotten to a point where people trying to take symbols of American patriotism and turn them against Supreme Court justices is over the line.”

“But should a U.S. Supreme Court justice be using these flags that clearly right now at least have some political implications as well as some history there?” Blitzer shot back, adding that, “currently, they have political implications.”

“They do not. No, that’s just wrong. That is just wrong,” Bolton said.

“They do have political implications, both of these flags,” Blitzer responded.

“Well, they don’t have political implications for me,” Bolton continued. “It’s controversial for liberals … It’s controversial for liberals who have it in for Sam Alito. It’s not controversial for me, and I’m as against Donald Trump as anybody I know in this country.”

There you go, and thank you for coming.

Flag-gate was going to be a difficult sell anyway, considering that controversial flags — including, yes, the upside-down flag — have been part and parcel of liberal movements for years without the New York Times and CNN freaking out about violations of flag code. This is the kind of thing that only motivates ardent Democrats who were already going to dutifully cast their vote for Joe Biden and all associated candidates this November.

It’s not Republicans and undecided voters who are going to think this is asinine. Even John Bolton, a professional NeverTrumper, believes this witch hunt to be prima facie preposterous. If you’ve lost Bolton, you’ve lost everyone but those seeking confirmation bias — period.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture