This week, U.S. President Donald Trump went to Singapore for a meeting with the dictatorial leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un. Topics on the table included the North Korean nuclear program, which that nation has threatened the world with time and time again over the years, and other aspects of the relationship of the Korean peninsula to the rest of the world too, like U.S. military exercises in the area, which Trump agreed to end.
In this high stakes context, Trump managed to fit in a “joke” about the appearance of the two world leaders present, himself included. Kim Jong Un’s reaction to that quip from Trump was captured on tape, and you can see it below.
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) June 12, 2018
In the video, Trump comments to photographers:
‘Getting a good picture everybody? So we look nice and handsome and thin? Perfect.’
Although Trump of course made that quip in English, Mashable notes that there were plenty of translators around who could no doubt ensure that the North Korean leader knew what was said. After that remark, Kim Jong Un looks perhaps taken aback by the turn of phrase from President Trump, although it’s something he should no doubt be used to if he’s paid attention to Trump for any period of time.
In the past at one point, Trump took his treatment of the North Korean leader’s appearance in the opposite direction, writing on Twitter with much less of an appearance of attempting to be congenial:
‘Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me “old,” when I would NEVER call him “short and fat?” Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!’
Well, in the time since that tweet was posted in November 2017, “that happened.”
Trump made his fat joke in question during a working lunch held after his initial meeting with Kim Jong Un. Overall, across their initial meeting and subsequent interactions, the two leaders met for hours on end, and Trump, for his part, came away all smiles.
Perhaps desperate for something to claim as a foreign policy victory to prop up his administration, Trump called his meeting with the North Korean leader “honest, direct, and productive” and said that he formed a “special bond” with Kim Jong Un.
It’s ironic for the president of the United States to comment as such when the North Korean leader is known for ordering wanton executions and presiding over grave life and death struggles for survival on the part of his people. That’s not someone you’d generally hope a U.S. leader would be bonding with — negotiating with, sure, maybe, but bonding with? Seriously?
Those comments came after he spent days ahead of his trip to meet the North Korean leader alienating our allies even further than he’s already pushed them, having imposed steep tariffs and then come away from the annual G7 summit with nothing but vitriol to spew, going so far as to call the Canadian prime minister “very dishonest and weak.”
It’s a disturbing world when the president of the United States pushes allies away in that manner while forming “special bonds” with dictators.
Featured Image via Screenshot from the Video