President Donald Trump continues to define his time in office by his bumbling incompetence with basic facts of his administration and its surroundings. This Friday, during a press availability at his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort, he painted his recent reversal of sanctions targeting North Korea with the same broad brush as his decision to overrule past proposals and maintain federal funding for the Special Olympics — for some reason.
Explaining his response to the sanctions against North Korea ever emerging from the Treasury Department in the first place, Trump told a reporter he was “not at all” upset, adding:
‘They were intended to go; people thought that they would go at that time. They had the right to do that. I just decided that I would not let it happen. In a certain way, it’s like the Special Olympics. For many years, it hasn’t been approved, and then at some point, it gets negotiated out in Congress. Well, I went out and I said we’re going to have funding for the Special Olympics. It’s a little bit of a similar situation — with different parties, to put it mildly.’
That argument about the nature of the situation really doesn’t support stability on any side. On the one hand, it begs the question of whether Trump has approached relations with North Korea with the same lower level seriousness as domestic budget proposals that are ultimately just for show since Congress has the final say about the bulk of funding.
Concurrently — what, does Trump want us to also thank him for deciding to tweet this morning? Does he want us to thank him for eating breakfast? Does he want us to all collectively tweet our appreciation and praise that he didn’t email Putin the United States’ nuclear launch codes this morning?
He’s injecting a self-aggrandizing melodrama where there just wasn’t a place for one. The administration had proposed completely eliminating yearly federal funding for the Special Olympics, which amounts to about $18 million and would leave the organization reliant on private generosity. Under pressure, Trump reversed his team’s decision this week, which he really shouldn’t be getting credit for. It’s the mess he, or at least his team, made.
Previously and separately, the Treasury Department had announced sanctions targeting two Chinese shipping companies that have supported North Korea — and the very next day, because he “likes” North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un, he abruptly announced they’d be withdrawn. That comes after he proclaimed that he and Kim “fell in love” during negotiations over their face-to-face meeting.
To be clear, despite Trump sweeping across the situation with his rhetoric like it’s no big deal and he’s the white knight saving us all, North Korea’s nuclear program continues to pose a serious threat. They were recently reported to be rebuilding a missile launch site.
It’s not the only front on which Trump’s response has not matched the realities of the situation at all. His reaction to a growing number of asylum seekers at the southern United States border is to threaten to close it entirely and blame Mexico for the surge, having repeatedly lied in the past that they’re “sending” people to the U.S. who harbor criminality.
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