In recent days, the first new images in weeks of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un emerged, which followed rumors that he was in a precarious physical state and maybe even dead. President Donald Trump has personally interacted with Kim a number of times throughout his presidency, and upon news of his supposedly good health, he glibly tweeted in support of the North Korean dictator with much kinder sentiments than he uses for most members of the public sphere in the U.S. This weekend on ABC’s This Week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shilled for Trump’s stance towards North Korea, although his rosy outlook of the situation flatly does not correspond with reality.
In reality, Trump has tried to cultivate some kind of twisted personal comradery with Kim. At one point, Trump said that he and the North Korean dictator “fell in love” after they sent each other “beautiful letters.” Trump has given up numerous U.S. concessions — he even stopped U.S. joint military exercises planned with South Korea in an attempt to win the favor of the North Koreans. However, at no point in Trump’s campaign to, uh, get Kim to like him has there been any significant change in the status of the country’s nuclear weapons capability.
Asked what he could say about Kim’s potential recent health problems, Pompeo told ABC host Martha Raddatz:
‘There’s not much I can share with you other than we’ve seen the same images that the world saw yesterday, and it looks like Chairman Kim is alive and well. Regardless, our mission has remained the same — to convince the North Koreans to give up their nuclear weapons, to verify the same, and to then create a brighter future for the North Korean people. That’s been something President Trump’s been focused on since the beginning of his time in office and something we’ll continue to work on.’
“I just can’t say anything about that,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tells @MarthaRaddatz when asked if Kim Jong Un had been “gravely ill” during the weeks that the North Korean leader was out of public view. https://t.co/EKV20Fhx2H pic.twitter.com/NVmjZS4RXH
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 3, 2020
The idea that Trump has been carrying on with some kind of altruistic campaign to uplift the North Korean people is just laughable. We’ve all seen his tweets, Mike.
This week, he tweeted:
‘I, for one, am glad to see he is back, and well!’
I, for one, am glad to see he is back, and well! https://t.co/mIWVeRMnOJ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 2, 2020
CNN contributor Joe Lockhart pointed out in response that:
‘President celebrates the good health of the man who murdered American Otto Warmbier’
President celebrates the good health of the man who murdered American Otto Warmbier https://t.co/jNKtxeURWJ
— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) May 2, 2020
And columnist Jonathan Chait added:
‘As little respect as I had for the Republican base, I never thought somebody could convince them Kim Jong-Un is a good dude and Mitt Romney is a scumbag. But here we are.’
As little respect as I had for the Republican base, I never thought somebody could convince them Kim Jong-Un is a good dude and Mitt Romney is a scumbag. But here we are. https://t.co/lI5BQPpVnV
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) May 2, 2020
MSNBC contributor Jill Wine-Banks added, addressing Trump directly:
‘If you had any decency, you would be saying this about Americans who survived covid-19 despite your incompetent handling of America’s needs in combating the disease.’
If you had any decency, you would be saying this about Americans who survived covid-19 despite your incompetent handling of America's needs in combating the disease. https://t.co/hY67amyaEP
— Jill Wine-Banks (@JillWineBanks) May 2, 2020
No matter the issues raised above, Pompeo self-confidently insisted this weekend upon the Trump administration’s supposed great and constructive stance towards North Korea. The abject failure of their foreign policy to actually accomplish the stated aims of a denuclearization on the Korean peninsula figures among a slew of other foreign policy failures on the part of the president and his team. As it turns out, putting inexperienced ideologues in charge of government policy doesn’t work well.