NBC: North Korea Fears ‘Mentally Ill’ Trump, Feels ‘Threatened by America’

Reporting from inside North Korea for Friday’s NBC Today, correspondent Keir Simmons parroted the authoritarian regime’s propaganda as he quoted government officials personally insulting President Trump and portraying the United States as the aggressor responsible for rising tensions in the region.

“Good morning from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, known to you and me as North Korea. We are right on the border with the south, and even here we are learning that President Trump’s rhetoric is having a profound effect,” Simmons declared as he began his taped report. Moments later, he touted: “North Korea’s vice foreign minister is tells NBC News, quote, ‘President Trump’s rhetoric is taking them to the brink of war.’”

 

 

Turning to a North Korean military officer, Simmons asked: “What do you think of President Trump?” The lieutenant colonel replied: “Trump is mentally ill...if there is a war with America, we will win.”

Acknowledging that he was “being escorted by government minders,” the reporter cited more state-approved testimony:

I asked one government official, a father with a young son, whether he is scared by what is happening. And you know what he told me? He said that all his life, he has felt as if his existence is threatened by America. And he said, he believes that North Korea and the North Koreans could survive a nuclear war.

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“Puts it in perspective,” co-host Savannah Guthrie remarked following the pre-recorded segment.

At one point in the story, while standing along the border between North and South Korea, Simmons uttered: “This side socialism, there is where the capitalist world begins.” Just to clarify, France is socialist, North Korea is the most brutal form of communism on earth.

The same report from Simmons was featured on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday. However, rather than challenge any of the propaganda put forward in the piece, the hosts applauded the hostile rhetoric from America’s enemy. “First of all, they’re saying what a lot of people are thinking, that the President is mentally ill,” Mika Brzezinski declared. Joe Scarborough observed: “Mika, you’ve got a mind meld with some people in North Korea.”

The pair also seemed satisfied when Simmons told them that one “senior official” in the dictatorship “watches Morning Joe every day.”

The biased coverage on Friday’s Today was brought to viewers by Microsoft, Kohl’s, and Special K.

Here is a full transcript of the October 20 report:

7:14 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Also this morning, we’ve got some new perspective on the North Korean crisis from inside that country. NBC’s Keir Simmons has made his way there to see how new threats of war with the U.S. are confronting people in that region. Keir, good morning.

KEIR SIMMONS: Savannah, good morning from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, known to you and me as North Korea. We are right on the border with the south, and even here we are learning that President Trump’s rhetoric is having a profound effect.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Inside North Korea; Reporting From DMZ as Tensions in Region Grow]

Despite threats of war, nuclear tests, and angry rhetoric between President Trump and North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, we met American aid workers who were taking the flight with us to North Korea. Do you feel safe traveling to North Korea?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [AID WORKER]: This is like my 50-something trip. And we all have families at home. We all want to get back to our families. So, yes.

SIMMONS: But here, along the front line between America’s ally, South Korea, and the north, there is a permanent sense of danger. They call this the Demilitarized Zone. It is anything but. Every day, these North Korean troops stare down their American and South Korean counterparts. Both sides today on a hair trigger.  

That is the border between north and south. This side socialism, there is where the capitalist world begins. And we’re not allowed to stay here for very long. North Korea’s vice foreign minister is tells NBC News, quote, “President Trump’s rhetoric is taking them to the brink of war.” And in a war, this would be ground zero.

And our exchange with a North Korean lieutenant colonel reveals why the two sides, so close at this border, are so far apart. What do you think of President Trump? “Trump is mentally ill,” the guard tells me, “And if there is a war with America, we will win.”

In this closed-off country, the people are hard to read. Some officials we spoke to still hope for peace, all seem braced for war.

Now, we should be clear that everywhere we go here, we are being escorted by government minders. I asked one government official, a father with a young son, whether he is scared by what is happening. And you know what he told me? He said that all his life, he has felt as if his existence is threatened by America. And he said, he believes that North Korea and the North Koreans could survive a nuclear war. Back to you guys.

GUTHRIE: Puts it in perspective. Keir Simmons in North Korea for us, thank you.     

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