I think part of the reason some people sound a little over-critical today is that Trump has seemingly gone all-in on his new partnership with Kim Jong Un. And when Trump goes all-in he says things that are completely absurd, like this.
Trump did an interview with George Stephanopoulos this morning where he made this absurd statement about Kim and his people (via Hotair):
G: What other kinds of security guarantees did you offer, did you put on the table?
T: Well, we’ve given him, I don’t wanna talk about it specifically, but we’ve given him, he’s going to be happy. His country does love him. His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor. They’re gonna put it together, and I think they’re going to end up with a very strong country, and a country which has people — that they’re so hard working, so industrious. I think if you look at South Korea, someday, maybe in the not too distant future, it will be something that.
G: You say his people love him. Just a few months ago you accused him of starving his people. And listen, here’s the rub. Kim is a brutal dictator. He runs a police state, forced starvation, labor camps. He’s assassinated members of his own family. How do you trust a killer like that?
T: George, I’m given what I’m given, okay? I mean, this is what we have, and this is where we are, and I can only tell you from my experience, and I met him, I’ve spoken with him, and I’ve met him. And this was, as you know, started very early and it’s been very intense. I think that he really wants to do a great job for North Korea. I think he wants to denuke, it’s very important. Without that, there’s nothing to discuss. That was on the table at the beginning, and you see a total denuclearization of North Korea — so important. And, he wants to do the right thing. Now, with all of that being said, I can’t talk about — it doesn’t matter. We’re starting from scratch. We’re starting right now, and we have to get rid of those nuclear weapons.
Look, I know that Trump really wants to make this deal with Un work, but to say that his people love him, that they have fervor for him? C’mon, that’s patently ridiculous. As Ed Morrissey points out:
Kim’s people love him and have “a great fervor” for him because that’s the only way to stay out of the gulags. They love him in the same way that Winston loved Big Brother — as a survival mechanism. Trump’s catching all sorts of flak this morning, and rightly so, for that absurd statement. How would Trump know what North Koreans really think of Kim, anyway?
Exactly. How would Trump know? He’s just saying these things because he really wants this to work out. He’s going all-in even with this kind of absurd rhetoric, which means if it backfires he’s gonna look really stupid.
Look, Trump is right that these are the cards he was dealt. And he’s taken us from the potential for war to the potential for denuclearization. And that’s great. Things are certainly more optimistic with N. Korea than they’ve been in a long time. And I believe he has the right ‘trust but verify’ attitude about this.
I just wish he’d moderate his rhetoric along the way. We don’t have to deny reality just to get a deal. We don’t have to sell our soul, so to speak, to make it happen.
Watch the full interview with Stephanopoulos below: