In stark contrast to his CNN colleague Erin Burnett who gave President Donald Trump glowing praise for his upcoming meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Chris Cillizza went on a late Thursday night rant bitterly writing off any possible summit as more likely to resemble a reality TV show. Cillizza set the tone of his petulant diatribe by unflatteringly describing the two leaders as being very similar:
Kim, the rogue dictator leading one of the most separate societies in the world even while touting absurd claims like that he learned to drive at the age of 3. (His father, Kim Jong Il, claimed to have once made 11 holes-in-one in a single round of golf -- the first he ever played!)
And Trump, the billionaire populist who won the most unexpected victory in American presidential political history thanks to a campaign that was built on fear, anxiety and a healthy dollop of exaggeration/untruth.
And then Cillizza introduced his "reality show" shtick:
Given that backdrop, the meeting, about which few details were available other than that it will happen before May, feels -- at least at first blush -- less like a diplomatic gathering between two world leaders than a much-anticipated pay-per-view professional wrestling match between two longtime rivals. Or a showdown between two beloved (or be-hated -- not a word but you get my meaning) reality show contestants.
You can even imagine the promoter's voice saying something like: "The world thought they would never meet. They have called each other every name in the book. But now, for one day only, Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump will stare each other down across a table!"
For all of the reality TV (or pro wrestling) aspects of this meeting, the stakes are far more real than winning "The Amazing Race" or being crowned the WWE heavyweight champion.
You can even imagine the promoter's voice saying something like: "From ringside we have Silly Cillizza, the consistently wrong commentator viewing the world through the fantasy lenses of his purple-framed eyeglasses!"
What makes this all even more fraught is the fact that no one really knows why Kim, after years of bellicose talk directed at the United States, has changed his tune so abruptly.
Gee! Why would Kim change his tune so abruptly? Cillizza answered the question he posed in the very next sentence:
Trump allies claim the President's tough talk -- and hardened sanctions against North Korea -- have brought Kim to the table. Kim was never truly afraid that President Barack Obama might take military action against the North Korean regime, while he is far less certain that Trump has those same reservations.
Bingo! Thank you for that prompt answer.
Skeptics suggest that Kim may be using Trump to create a scenario by which the US and North Korea are cast to the eyes of the world as equals. And that Kim may believe that he can outfox Trump in a face-to-face meeting, cutting a deal that greatly advantages North Korea.
Hmmm... A sheltered kid who was handed the leadership of his country as a birthright versus someone from the cutthroat world of New York real estate known for the Art of the Deal. Who would prove to be the more skilled negotiator? Cillizza actually thinks there is a possibility that Trump could be outfoxed.
Cillizza summed it up on a note chock full of petulance:
These are two men who have spent a lifetime creating their own realities -- whether that's driving as a toddler or having the single most successful first year of any President ever -- that often don't comport with established facts.
They are also trained performers, focused as much -- if not more -- on perception rather than reality.
When they sit down together, can they put aside the posturing and the gamesmanship and get something real done? Or will this moment -- like so many with Kim and Trump individually -- devolve into just another episode of reality TV, with each man trying to one-up the other in a game of whose nuclear button is bigger?
Cillizza hasn't been this unhinged on the subject of Trump and North Korea since last August when he absurdly argued with a straight face that people wouldn't read the last part of Trump's tweet:
Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2017
Well, Chris, apparently Kim himself read the last part of that tweet and has found another path much to your great dismay.