From almost the very beginning, President Trump played down expectations for the North Korea summit, even suggesting it may not even happen. But now that the President was walking away with a signed commitment, which he acknowledged might fall through, liberal news outlets were questioning why they even had the summit at all. On Tuesday’s edition on CNN Tonight, author Max Boot argued Trump shouldn’t really get any credit because he was putting out the fire he started.
At the top of the program, the majority anti-Trump panel couldn’t figure out why the two counties needed to meet to discuss anything. “Let's … talk about what Scott [Jennings] said, at least we're off the brink of a nuclear war. Wasn't it the President's rhetoric in the first place that put us in that,” wondered host Don Lemon. “I'm wondering did you need to have this summit in order to get what these two people got?”
Of course, Boot responded by suggesting most of the blame for the rhetorical threats and insults that flew around last year were mostly Trump’s fault. “[A] lot of the reason we were on the brink of nuclear war last year (…) [was] because of the reckless and irresponsible rhetoric from Donald Trump ratcheting up the tensions,” he asserted.
“And so now this is kind of the arsonist getting credit for putting out the fire,” he declared. To make sure he didn’t look completely foolish, Boot did note that North Korea was making some sort of provocative display with their nuclear weapons towards the U.S. at the time. He also completely overlooked how this got started then North Korea killed American student Otto Warmbier.
“But what's striking to me about the summit is how little Donald Trump got in return for legitimating Kim Jong-un on the world stage,” Boot continued to whine. “[F]or describing Kim Jong-un as this very talented, smart, funny guy. I mean, it sounded like, you know, Donald Trump wanted to invite Kim to the prom.”
As if time had not progressed and other developments had not occurred, Lemon turned to CNN’s chief political correspondent, Dana Bash to chastise the “double standard” where “Fox News” and “conservatives slammed Obama for his willingness to talk to dictators.” He proceeded to show her a montage of clips showing Fox News folks outraged.
“So, if you open the dictionary to the word hypocrisy does that video play,” he mocked. “Loudly and proudly that video plays. There’s no question about it,” she proclaimed. Bash then boasted about how she argued: “[T]hat if Donald Trump were a Democrat, the impeachment articles would be written right now if the Republicans were in charge doing the same thing.”
But it’s not “the same thing.” The situation was nowhere near the same as 10-years-ago. When Obama was president, North Korea didn’t have the ability to have a nuclear missile reach as far as Washington, D.C. (according to some estimates). North Korea wasn’t threatening to irradiate Guam with their weapons and we weren’t drawing up plans for a ground war on the Korean Peninsula. Time passes and situations change.
“I don't think we should fall to the trap of saying the only alternatives are nuclear war or the kind of diplomacy that Donald Trump is conducting where he's making a lot of unilateral concessions and not getting a lot in return and kind of fawning over this dictator,” Boot bemoaned a short time later. But for all of his and the liberal media opining about “unilateral concessions,” the U.S. really hasn’t given up anything of substance.
They’ll complain that we “elevated” Kim and gave him “legitimacy” but he arguably got that when he got D.C. in range of his nukes. For all their outrage at the President, their suggestions only leave Trump with the option to go to war.
The relevant portions of the transcript are below, click "expand" to read:
June 12, 2018
10:06:38 PM Eastern
DON LEMON: Okay, Max, let’s just put—because I have other dictators that he’s had nice words for. Let's put that on hold for a second and talk about what Scott said, at least we're off the brink of a nuclear war. Wasn't it the President's rhetoric in the first place that put us in that? And all you have to do -- I'm wondering did you need to have this summit in order to get what these two people got? This short little letter that basically said—and this is a key I don’t know if anyone else has noticed that it's number three, the whole crux of this, it says: “Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Will, that was decided back in April, that's what they've been working for all along. Do they need to do this, Max?
MAX BOOT: No. I mean, I think your exactly right, Don, a lot of the reason we were on the brink of nuclear war last year—I mean part of it to be sure was because of the North Korean nuclear tests and their missile test, but also because of the reckless and irresponsible rhetoric from Donald Trump ratcheting up the tensions. And so now this is kind of the arsonist getting credit for putting out the fire.
But what's striking to me about the summit is how little Donald Trump got in return for legitimating Kim Jong-un on the world stage. For treating this leader of this two-bit dictatorship as the equal of the president of the United States; for suspending U.S./South Korean joint military exercises, which is a huge concession to the North in describing those exercises as provocative war games, which is adopting the language of Northern propaganda; for describing Kim Jong-un as this very talent, smart, funny guy. I mean, it sounded like, you know, Donald Trump wanted to invite Kim to the prom.
And in return for all of that, what does he get? Nothing except the empty blather that you quoted about working towards the complete denuclearization and Korean peninsula, which is what the North Koreans have been saying since 1992. I mean, I could say I'm working toward beating Roger Federer at Wimbledon, that doesn’t mean it’s ever going to happen.
LEMON: Having set that up, Dana, this is possibly a double standard whether you look at what Fox News and how conservatives slammed Obama for his willingness to talk to dictators. Watch this.
LEMON: So, if you open the dictionary to the word hypocrisy does that video play, Dana?
DANA BASH: Loudly and proudly that video plays. There’s no question about it. I said it earlier today that if Donald Trump were a Democrat, the impeachment articles would be written right now if the Republicans were in charge doing the same thing.
Having said that, that wouldn’t make it right because there is, rightly so, a bipartisan feeling and sentiment that having a diplomatic conversation is the right way to go. Now, as Max was saying, whether or not he went way over his skies is a different conversation. You have people like Marco Rubio today saying that he is appalled at the kind of language Donald Trump used about this dictator given the way he tortures and starves his people. He kills his own family members, executes them when they don't do what he wants. And he's following in the steps of his father and grandfather. But having said that, this is, you know, many people say—and not just many people say, I sound like the President now (Lemon laughs) – this is flatly better than the alternative, which is a horrendous war.
BOOT: I don't think we should fall to the trap of saying the only alternatives are nuclear war or the kind of diplomacy that Donald Trump is conducting where he's making a lot of unilateral concessions and not getting a lot in return and kind of fawning over this dictator. I'm all in favor of engaging in North Korea but I think you need to do it firmly. I don't think you allow the North Korean dictator a meeting with the U.S. president without getting some concessions upfront. And we’re just not seeing—
SCOTT JENNINGS: There is a third way. There is a third way. We can keep doing what we were doing and that was not working. And I think the President has dealt with Kim firmly. The sanctions were firm, the threat of military force was firm.
LEMON: Scott, I think you’re right. I think, listen. I think your right but answer this for me, Scott. We could continue to do what we were doing, okay fine. You said that didn't work, all right I'll grant you that. But when that wasn't working the former president was being criticized by your party for wanting to talk to Kim Jong-un and wanting to talk to dictators. How is that not hypocrisy? What is different now? Please explain that to me.
JENNINGS: I'll give you one point about Obama that Republicans always believed, and that is they never believed he would show the resolve necessary in conversations with dictators. And he proved it. He drew a red line on Syria for instance.