In Washington DC, Sunday is spin-day as politicos hit the round of TV news shows to opine on the events of the past week. The Trump administration marshaled National Security Advisor John Bolton from his bed early this morning to try to rescue the public perception of the president’s prematurely terminated summit meeting with North Korea’s authoritarian Trump penpal Kim Jong Un.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Bolton reacted strongly against host Chris Wallace’s description of the much-hyped meeting as a “failure,” despite Trump’s abrupt cessation of the negotiations and the lack of a single concrete result from the talks.
Wallace asked the mustachioed security advisor what the state of diplomatic relations between the two nations is “following the failed summit in Vietnam.”
“I don’t agree at all that it was a failed summit,” Bolton retorted. “I think the obligation of the president of the United States is to defend and advance American national security interest and I think he did that that.”
“[Trump has] turned traditional diplomacy on its head and after all in the case of North Korea,” the national security advisor continued. “Why not? Traditional diplomacy has failed in the last three administrations.”
Chris Wallace — acting as the token objective journalist on the network that otherwise should be considered to be a 24-hour Trump campaign ad — challenged Bolton’s spin.
“You would agree that it’s failed so far with you too?” Wallace drolly observed.
“After eight months!” Bolton indignantly replied.
“Would you agree that so far this move with Kim has failed?” Wallace tried again to elicit a straight answer.
“I don’t think we are in any worse shape than they were in past administrations,” Bolton answered. “I think in fact we are in a stronger position because the maximum pressure campaign, as it’s been called, affording tighter economic sanctions on North Korea and enforcing sanctions more effectively is what brought them to this point. The program of maximum pressure will continue and I think have a real impact on Kim Jong-un.”
Bolton gave up on spin entirely when it came time to comment on President Trump’s controversial remarks about his conversation with Kim Jong Un about the death of American student Otto Warmbier after his detention in a North Korean prison.
The administration has been on the defensive ever since Trump said this about Warmbier’s death:
“I don’t believe that he would have allowed that to happen; it just wasn’t to his advantage to allow that to happen,” Mr. Trump said of Kim Jong Un. “Those prisons are rough — they’re rough places — and bad things happened. But I really don’t believe that he — I don’t believe that he knew about it.”
“He tells me that he didn’t know about it,” Mr. Trump also said, “and I will take him at his word.”
National Security Advisor Bolton had a difficult time putting Trump’s words in a positive light.
“When he says ‘I’m going to take him at his word,’ it doesn’t mean he accepts it as reality. It means he accepts that’s what Kim said,” Bolton spun unconvincingly.
It’s difficult for a habitual liar to summon the audacity — or the moral basis — to call another liar out, Bolton’s logic suggests.
That doesn’t mean the public should accept a word the president or anyone shilling for his administration says as reality. Chances are that it’s just another lie.
You can watch clips of National Security Advisor John Bolton with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday in the videos below.
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) March 3, 2019
Wow — On Fox News Sunday, Bolton really struggled to defend Trump's comment about taking Kim's word that he wasn't involved in Warmbier's death
"When he says 'I'm going to take him at his word,' it doesn't mean he accepts it as reality. It means he accepts that's what Kim said" pic.twitter.com/e68lwqAkhk
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 3, 2019
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.
Original reporting by David Edwards at RawStory.