In a turn of events that should surprise absolutely no one, President Trump’s much-hyped summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in Vietnam this week ended up being an utterly humiliating diplomatic debacle for the United States.
While the Republican Party initially tried to tout it as some historic event to move the world towards a safer, more peaceful place, it was clear from the beginning that it would likely turn out to be nothing more than a series of photo-ops and a chance for the president to sell his supporters on the idea of himself as some master statesman.
In the end, no deal was struck, and Trump succeeded only in giving Kim Jong-un an international platform that he will in turn use as propaganda to increase his standing at home. The United States got nothing.
And that wasn’t even the worst of it.
Today, Trump addressed the tragic death of Otto Warmbier, an American who was captured by the North Koreans and died shortly after his release in 2017. The president betrayed Warmbier’s memory by saying that while he accepts that “something very bad happened to him” he doesn’t believe the “top leadership knew about it,” whitewashing Kim Jong-un’s role in Warmbier’s imprisonment and subsequent passing.
Trump added that Kim Jong-un — the brutal totalitarian who in the past has had his own government officials torn apart by anti-aircraft guns — claims to feel “very badly” about Warmbier’s treatment and insists he didn’t know about it. Stunningly, Trump says he is taking the murderous dictator at his word. Either the president is being incredibly naive, or he simply doesn’t care about Warmbier’s death and has decided he’d rather ingratiate himself with Kim than stand up for a dead American.
His comments today mirror the time that he chose to believe Russian President Vladimir Putin over the American intelligence community when the former insisted that North Korean missiles didn’t post a threat to the United States and the latter assured him he did. Time and again, Trump demonstrates a deeply disturbing penchant for taking our adversaries’ word at face value.
Our president lacks the strength or even the desire to stand up for America.
President Trump on Otto Warmbier: "I really believe something very bad happened to him, and I don't think that the top leadership knew about it…(Kim Jong-Un) felt very badly about it…He tells me that he didn't know about it, and I will take him at his word." pic.twitter.com/EWnw7BzVNe
— Axios (@axios) February 28, 2019
So egregious were Trump’s comments, that even Republicans are condemning them, with some choosing to criticize the president directly, and others taking more subtle shots at him.
F***ing pathetic https://t.co/HrpNXyOPNk
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 28, 2019
“This is reprehensible what he just did. He gave cover… to a leader who knew very well what was going on with Otto Warmbier,” @RickSantorum says about Pres. Trump saying he believes Kim Jong Un’s claim he wasn't aware of the American student’s condition https://t.co/2JAkMvsnCI pic.twitter.com/kdGjff7N7r
— CNN (@CNN) February 28, 2019
Trump on Kim Jong Un and the murder of Otto Warmbier: "I don't believe that he would have allowed that to happen…He felt badly about it." This sounds uncannily like Stalin's defenders in the 1930's. Trump is the last Stalinist apologist.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) February 28, 2019
This outcome was worse than not raising at all.
This summit is exceeding all expectations. Kim's expectations. https://t.co/iU2Y3BRzCL
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) February 28, 2019
Democrats and independents also got in on the action, rightfully slamming President Trump for his cowardice and weakness.
Walking away from the summit was better than making a bad deal. It’s also the result of a poorly planned strategy.
But accepting Kim’s denial of involvement in Warmbier’s death? Detestable, and harkens back to Trump’s duplicitous acceptances of denials from other dictators. https://t.co/JvidU3AJYO
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 28, 2019
This is stunning. I ran against a GOP incumbent who raised money off of how much he was personally standing up for Otto Warmbier. I’d be shocked if he said anything about this now because it would contradict his own @GOP dear leader. https://t.co/9nvmZPaR9M
— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) February 28, 2019
To conclude, Kim Jong Un got Trump to:
– Give him his desired world stage
– Excuse human rights violations
– Contradict America’s intel community
– Enable Kim’s propaganda efforts
– Horrifically lie about Otto Warmbier
“Dealmaker” Trump again got nothing.
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) February 28, 2019
1. KIM JONG UN had US student Otto Warmbier imprisoned and tortured in N. Korea
2. PUTIN interfered in US elections.
3. MBS ordered the murder of US journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
That's 3 Brutal Authoritarian Leaders who Trump believes over his own intelligence agencies.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) February 28, 2019
So, the Trump administrations position is Mohammed bin Salman wasn't responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and Kim wasn't responsible for the killing of Otto Warmbier. https://t.co/OXRFnWdTCJ
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) February 28, 2019
In Kim Jong Un's case, Otto Warmbier was brutally tortured & held captive for months before sent back in a coma to US where he died. In Saudi, the U.S. government concluded that the crown prince was responsible for Khashoggi's death. His associates carried it out with a bone saw. https://t.co/fuy4L5PsyK
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) February 28, 2019
All Americans must condemn Trump’s words and hopefully, this finally acts as a wakeup call to the few remaining sane supporters of the president: abandon ship, this man is no patriot.