Thursday, September 6, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He basked in praise from North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Kim is the leader of the most repressive dictatorship in the world. He has maintained his grip on power through assassination, has tortured political prisoners (including Americans taken hostage as a negotiating tactic), and has openly defied Trump's attempts at nuclear appeasement.

At around the same time that Trump was thanking Kim, his Justice Department was bringing charges against a North Korean national who, acting on behalf of the Kim regime, helped launch a cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. Kim had been offended by a comedy movie produced by Sony in which American journalists are recruited to assassinate him.

Trump's embrace of Kim comes a day after a scathing editorial written by one of his own senior appointees. In it, the author complained about Trump's "preference for autocrats and dictators" including Kim. The editorial also noted that in spite of Trump's pro-dictator leanings, "the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where [dictators] are called out for meddling and punished accordingly."

Why does this matter?

  • It shouldn't be this easy to emotionally manipulate the president.
  • Presidents should care more about the opinions of Americans than dictators of hostile nuclear-armed regimes who have kidnapped and murdered Americans.
  • The United States government is supposed to work with the president, not in spite of him.