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President Trump Has Some Awfully Kind Words For Kim Jong Un

Jun 17, 2018
Originally published on June 16, 2018 8:18 am

Politics — and real life — brim with contradictions and insincerities. Sometimes, that's for the best.

Winston Churchill despised communism and Josef Stalin. But when Adolf Hitler's Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Churchill leaped to support Stalin's USSR and explained, "If Hitler invaded hell, I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons."

Richard Nixon used to refuse to recognize what was once called Red China. But he went to China to meet Mao Zedong in 1972 and flattered The Great Helmsman by telling Mao he had read the chairman's poetry. They both joked about Henry Kissinger. Nixon told Mao that they had many differences but that "what brings us together is a recognition of a new situation in the world."

Leaders of free countries sometimes look around that world and make accommodations with power and reality, including despots. They do this for economic reasons and national security. But President Trump sounded almost besotted after meeting Kim Jong Un this week in Singapore.

He told Greta Van Susteren on the Voice of America that the man he used to mock as "Little Rocket Man" has "a great personality. He's a funny guy, he's very smart."

Kim Jong Un, funny guy.

The president told Bret Baier on Fox News, "When you take over a country — a tough country, tough people — and you take it over from your father, I don't care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have. If you can do that at 27 years old, I mean, that's 1 in 10,000 that could do that."

Of course, Kim also had the advantage of his father's police state to kill his half-brother, his uncle and other potential opponents.

When Baier pointed out Kim's regime imprisons, tortures and kills his own people, Trump replied, "Yeah, but so have other people done some really bad things. I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done."

And Friday, the president told Fox & Friends, "He's the head of a country — and I mean he's the strong head. He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same."

The president said later that he was "kidding" and that reporters don't understand sarcasm. Actually, I think sarcasm is one thing reporters do understand.

It would be good for the world if the president is right when he tweets, "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea." Some experts experienced in North Korea and nuclear politics are skeptical.

But the president has fawned so much about Kim since their meeting, you might wonder if he is simply flattering a man with nuclear missiles or exalting the kind of leader he truly admires?

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Politics and real life brim with contradictions and insincerity. Sometimes that's for the best. Winston Churchill despised communism and Joseph Stalin. But when Hitler's Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Churchill leaped to support Stalin's USSR and explained if Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons. Richard Nixon used to refuse to recognize what was once called Red China, but he went to China to meet Mao Zedong in 1972 and flattered The Great Helmsman by telling him he had read his poetry. They both joked about Henry Kissinger. Nixon told Mao they had many differences, but what brings us together is a recognition of a new situation in the world.

Leaders of free countries sometimes look around that world and make accommodations with power and reality, including despots. They do this for economic reasons and national security. But President Trump sounded almost besotted after meeting Kim Jong Un this week in Singapore. He told Greta Van Susteren on the "Voice Of America" that the man he used to mock as Little Rocket Man has got a great personality. He's a funny guy. He's very smart. Kim Jong Un - funny guy.

The president told Bret Baier on Fox News when you take over a country, a tough country, tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don't care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have, if you can do that at 27 years old, I mean, that's 1 in 10,000 that could do that. Of course, Kim also had the advantage of his father's police state to murder his half-brother, his uncle and other potential opponents.

When Bret Baier pointed out Kim's regime imprisons, tortures and murders his own people, Trump replied, yeah, but so have other people done some really bad things. I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done. And yesterday, the president told "Fox & Friends" he's the head of a country and, I mean, he's the strong head. He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same. The president said later he was kidding and that reporters don't understand sarcasm. Actually, I think sarcasm is one thing reporters do understand.

It would be good for the world if the president is right when he tweets, there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea. Some experts experienced in North Korea and nuclear politics are skeptical. But the president has fawned so much about Kim since their meeting you might wonder if he's simply flattering a man with nuclear missiles or exalting the kind of leader he truly admires. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.