Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He blamed President Obama for failing to do something he's failing to do.

Today, Trump waded into the news about the death of Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old University of Virginia student who was imprisoned by North Korea for 18 months and returned this week comatose and near death. Trump called the situation a "total disgrace" and added, "frankly, if he were brought home sooner, I think the results would have been a lot different. He should have been brought home a long time ago." He also said that Warmbier "should have been brought home that same day" that he was detained.

A spokesperson for President Obama released a statement defending his administration's efforts to secure Warmbier's release, noting the 10 other American prisoners released during Obama's watch. There is another problem with Trump's not-too-subtle swipe at Obama, however. Two of the three American citizens currently imprisoned by North Korea were detained since Trump took office.

Neither Trump nor any other administration official has offered any explanation as to why American citizens Tony Kim or Kim Hak-Song, detained during a bizarre period in which Trump alternately threatened, praised, and scolded the North Korean regime, were not "brought home that same day."

Why should I be bothered by this?

  • A president whose first impulse is to blame someone else is a president who cannot do the job.
  • It's bad if a president sees every bad event as an opportunity to settle a personal score.