Monday, May 1, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He declared that he would be "honored" to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Trump made the remark in an interview today with Bloomberg News. It comes shortly after Trump invited Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, to the White House. Duterte openly endorses vigilante killings, but Trump is personally heavily invested in an ongoing building project in Manila, which may explain his hospitality towards a man who has openly bragged about murdering drug dealers.

Kim seems to have risen considerably in Trump's estimation lately: Trump called him a "smart cookie" yesterday and admired the fact that Kim, whose position is effectively hereditary, survived a coup led by his uncle. (The uncle was executed, one of about 340 people assassinated for political reasons by the Kim regime.) Sudden friendliness aside, in the past few weeks, Trump has also ordered an aircraft carrier to the Korean peninsula and apparently forgotten Kim's name during an interview.

By way of comparison, other than Bill Clinton's 2009 trip as a former president as part of a hostage release deal, the most prominent American to meet with a North Korean leader in recent memory is former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman.

So what?