Since the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un has received wall-to-wall press coverage, it’s not surprising that analysts on CNN might struggle to come up with a fresh angle on describing the event.
However, panelists on Monday’s edition of CNN Tonight showed their displeasure with the entire process when they grumbled about the list of items on the menu while stating they’re “really hungry” for “some substance here.”
The first person to complain was global affairs analyst and anti-Trump Republican Max Boot:
I enjoyed hearing the list of the menu items. What I'm really hungry for is some substance here because the glitz is great, but this is like having ice cream before you get the main meal.
I want something nourishing here, and Kim Jong-un has to deliver denuclearization in a verifiable and irreversible manner as Trump and [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo and others have demanded.
“You know, maybe we're going to be surprised, but there are no indications whatsoever leading up to the summit that he will in fact do this,” Boot added. “And in fact, there's been a downsizing of the expectations from everybody concerned.”
Host Don Lemon then turned to CNN national security analyst and former Obama official Samantha Vinograd, who was nodding her head in agreement with her fellow panelist’s perspective.
“I want to bring it back to the menu for a second,” Vinograd stated, “not just because I am hungry, but because typically the White House releases these kinds of details after, after for example, the French president comes to White House or another head of state comes for a state visit.”
“So by releasing the details of the menu, this is again legitimatizing Kim Jong-un and putting him on equal footing with other world leaders, which is what he wants,” she noted.
“And I really want to stress here that this working lunch is perfunctory at this juncture,” Vinograd added.
"If Sarah Sanders is in the room,” she continued, and “if we have the press secretary there, they are not diving into the kind of classified details that are going to lead to the substance that Max is referencing.”
Lemon stated moments later that several other people were in the room for that moment, including Pompeo, Sanders, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Advisor John Bolton, diplomat Sung Kim and Matthew Pottinger from the National Security Council.
“So what do you say to that?” he asked foreign policy analyst Jonathan Wachte regarding whether all those people were necessary to the process.
If Lemon hoped this panelist would roundly criticize the summit and its results, he was very disappointed.
“Well, there is a perfunctory aspect to it,” Wachte replied. “I mean, you can't anticipate that you're going to achieve so much so quickly.”
You know, all this is going to be ironed out in the months and years ahead as they actually go into the verification issues and other things should the summit all work out and we head in that direction.
So yes, of course, you're not going to get ,as Max alluded to, a fulfilling of that food in terms of substance at this point.
“You can't have the president of the United States sit down with the leader of a rogue state and immediately start, you know, working out the details right there and then,” Wachte continued.
“We’ve heard some sense that there's a will to actually get something down here, but it's going to take time.”
The analyst then returned to the “food” motif of the discussion.
“One particularly interesting thing about the menu is I was thinking as you were reading all that out, Don, the North Korean people, if they knew what is being dished out there, they can't even imagine the types of foods that you've rolled off your tongue.”
Of course, any success by Trump is hard to swallow for many of the analysts at CNN, most of whom had hoped the menu of the event wouldn’t include the special dessert of a potential Noble Peace Prize.