North Korea is running a video from President Trump’s meeting with their dictator – but it has nothing to do with denuclearization or even Trump’s unilateral agreement to stop holding major military exercises with South Korea.
It is a video of Trump returning a salute to a North Korean general while walking down a receiving line.
Trump saluted the three-star North Korean general No Kwang Chol even though he was warned in advance during a Pentagon briefing that saluting other nation’s military would be inappropriate and embarrassing, since he is the Commander in Chief of the U.S. armed forces.
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Democrats blasted the salute which was captured off North Korean TV by the BBC as a show of respect for an authoritarian regime.
— BBC Monitoring (@BBCMonitoring) June 14, 2018
The White House scrambled today to defend President Trump’s breach of protocol.
“It’s a common courtesy when a military official from another government salutes that you return that,” declared Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Sanders insisted Trump had not made a mistake.
“It is being seen as all part of the broader goal that day,” a White House official said, reports CNN, “which was to show respect to Kim and his entourage, according to the official.”
Democrats and many others view a lot of what Trump did with Kim as too friendly and too respectful considering he is the absolute dictator of one of the most repressive countries on the plant, which that limits citizens freedom and has put over 100,000 political enemies in concentration camps.
That criticism has only grown since Trump called Kim “very talented,” a “great negotiator” and a leader who “loves his people.”
Retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, a military and diplomatic analyst for CNN, said the North Koreans clearly “see a propaganda value here and this is basically showing the level of deference and respect that Trump has paid to them and to their military leaders.”
“It was inappropriate for him to do from a protocol perspective,” said Kirby, “but now he’s played right into the North’s propaganda about their legitimacy on the world stage.”
Kirby said as America’s commander in chief, Trump “doesn’t even salute his own generals. They salute him. That’s the way it works. You don’t certainly don’t do it with leaders of foreign military and you most certainly don’t do it with the leaders of foreign militaries of an adversary nation.”
In 2012, Trump took to Twitter to criticize President Obama for sharing a bow with Saudi Arabian King Abdullah showing respect to the president of Mexico.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2012
Now despite his claims that his summit with Kim Jong-un was a big success, it is Trump who is the amateur, showing that he doesn’t understand the protocol demanded of him as president.
He has given the third-rate regime in Pyongyang a huge propaganda victory while getting only promises in return from a regime famous for not keeping its word – and as usual, Trump doesn’t even have the class to admit he made a mistake.