Over the past few weeks, the Trump administration has been quietly ratcheting up its diplomatic efforts with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and its leader, Chairman Kim Jong-un, in a desperate effort to finally lock down some kind of policy achievement to cheer up the President and stem the bleeding from an extremely damaging and entirely avoidable government shutdown fight.
While his efforts to seek a diplomatic resolution to the simmering standoff between North Korea and the United States over their nuclear weapons programs are objectively commendable, he still turned heads on both sides of the aisle and left the nation confused this evening when he tweeted the following effusive praise of the DPRK’s dictator:
North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, will become a great Economic Powerhouse. He may surprise some but he won’t surprise me, because I have gotten to know him & fully understand how capable he is. North Korea will become a different kind of Rocket – an Economic one!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2019
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It really brings into question what kind of relationship Trump thinks he has with Jong-un. While the president is well known for being incredibly insecure and desperate for the approval of other leaders, particularly those who run brutal autocratic regimes (thus appearing “strong” to Trump), to be so nakedly pandering in such a public forum probably isn’t in the Art of the Deal — or literally any other guide to negotiation and business discussion.
Perhaps he’s just trying to butter him up ahead of his second meeting with the leader in Hanoi, Vietnam, but everyone involved can agree that this is not the way to go about doing it.