In a tweet that should rattle Republicans who have been fawning over President Trump’s performance at the Singapore summit and unnerve Democrats who chose to equivocate for fear of being labeled as anti-diplomacy, Trump declared Wednesday morning, “Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!” Republicans would condemn this ludicrous happy talk if uttered by a Democrat. Then again, no Democrat — even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — would be likely to say such a blatantly false, foolish thing.
Trump now gives the back of his hand to queries about starvation and forced labor camps: All he has to go by is “today and by yesterday and by a couple weeks ago because that’s really when this whole thing started.” He defines the Cold War term “useful idiot,” a Westerner easily mesmerized by propaganda and a willing dissembler of tyrant’s lies.
Before Wednesday morning’s tweet, former acting CIA director John McLaughlin predicted, “After all, Trump, who seems to live mostly in the moment and shows little understanding of causality, may simply have been seduced by the prospect of a great TV moment — which, let’s face it, it was. And he will spin that like a carnival barker in the coming days.” (Apologies to carnival barkers.) He explained:
In round one, Kim racked up win after win. After years of isolation and well-deserved shunning by the international community, he got a coming-out party hosted by the leader of the world’s greatest power proclaiming he’s “honored” to meet him. Kim’s biggest score, though, was Trump’s pledge to end U.S.–South Korean military exercises on the peninsula and a presidential pledge to consider ending the U.S. troop presence. This is something North Korea and China have wanted for years, and it is an absolutely stunning giveaway of U.S. leverage with no price asked. Trump will regret this.
Like my colleague Josh Rogin, McLaughlin judged this as a major win for China. “Not only has China