Last night, three Americans who were being held hostage by the North Korean regime were returned to the United States in a show of goodwill by DPRK leader Kim Jong-un, who is engaged in the most productive diplomatic negotiations with South Korea and their new president, Moon jae-in, that the world has seen in many years.
Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song were all incarcerated by the North Korean regime for spying or otherwise simply being American in the wrong place at the wrong time, which President Trump famously blamed the Obama administration for despite two of them having been taken prisoner during his administration.
They were finally released and returned to the United States late last night, where the President was waiting for his big media moment – and right on cue, made some very questionable remarks.
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“I think you probably broke the all-time in history television rating for 3 o’clock in the morning” cheered Trump, clearly only fixated on the value that these three men provided to his image and already thinking about how he could take credit for the event, which he had little to do with beyond pushing tensions to the brink of literal nuclear war – hardly a commendable feat.
In what we suppose is a refreshing new attitude toward his North Korean counterpart, President Trump said that he wanted to thank Kim Jong-un for sentencing Kim Dong-chul to ten years in a labor camp for “spying.”
“We want to thank Kim Jong-un, who really was excellent to these three incredible people.”
While appreciation for their good treatment is indeed in order – one man “recounted his time in captivity, describing long days in labor camps but [added] that he had received medical treatment when needed” – one would hardly describe several months in a labor camp and the certainly terrifying time in the interrogation chambers as being “excellent” to them.
It appears that Trump dropped the ball on yet another “do not congratulate” moment.
All in all, it is certainly nice to see the president being conciliatory and almost friendly towards his North Korean counterpart at the onset of what is bound to be some crucial negotiations, especially after spending the majority of last year idly threatening “fire and fury” on the North Korean regime in his performative attempts to prove just how tough he was.
Now we just need him to sit down, shut up, and let a real leader like President Moon jae-in hammer out the terms for a lasting peace for the Korean peninsula.