MSNBC Panel Mocks Trump-Kim Meeting as 'Diplomatic Booty Call'

Echoing many of their colleagues on MSNBC, the panel on Deadline: White House Monday had hysterical analysis of President Trump’s impromptu meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. At one point, one of the guests went so far as to compare the President’s meeting with Kim to a “diplomatic booty call.

Host Nicolle Wallace opened the segment with snarky commentary describing President Trump as “awash in the afterglow of his firstness,” trashing him as:

the first President to take his daughter to North Korea on a work trip; first President to say out loud that he has no idea what the term western liberalism means by dissing the west coast cities of the United States in response to a reporter’s question about it; first President to pass along his penchant for birtherism style smear campaigns to his son; and, yes, first President to meet with a brutal North Korean dictator on that brutal North Korean dictator’s home turf and then lavish him with praise.

After Wallace finished slamming the President for “fawning over a dictator,” The Washington Post’s Phil Rucker described the President’s meeting with Kim as “a big win speaking in terms of propaganda for the North Koreans.” Foreign Affairs Journalist Elise Labott, formerly of CNN, argued that “Kim Jong-un has played President Trump beautifully. He knows exactly how to get what he wants from the President...all Kim Jong-un has to do is show up and say nice things.”

Host Nicolle Wallace agreed with Labott’s description of the meeting between Trump and Kim as a “diplomatic booty call” that “really doesn’t take the relationship forward.”

 

 

Wallace and her panel spent more than 20 minutes attacking President Trump. According to Wallace, “bad deals are his brand and the idea that he would sacrifice US foreign policy; this is the obvious sort of tail to the head and body we’ve been following for three years.” Never-Trumper David Jolly argued that President Trump demonstrated a “level of palpable ignorance” by stepping into North Korea to meet with Kim and reinforced the narrative that the President was “putting his own brand above the national security interests, not just of the United States but of the region in which Donald Trump was visiting.”

Jolly continued to attack President Trump as “somebody who doesn’t even have a working knowledge of foreign policy.” Wallace also claimed that President Trump “has no personal moral compass,” adding “what we have never had before is a learning curve and someone devoid of character and sort of morals.” Wallace cited President Trump’s “constant apologizing for Khashoggi” as one example of President Trump’s immorality. 

 

 

While Labott did describe the thawing tensions between the United States and North Korea as “a good thing,” that did not stop her from attacking President Trump’s deal making skills: “he’s priding these relationships on getting a deal, that he’s this deal maker. Where are the deals?” If history shows that the “diplomatic booty call” ends up as the first step in denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, Wallace and friends will have a massive amount of egg on their faces.

A transcript of the relevant portion of Monday’s edition of Deadline: White House is below. Click “expand” to read more.

Deadline: White House

07/01/19

04:00 PM

NICOLLE WALLACE: Hi, everyone, it’s 4:00 in Washington, D.C., where Donald Trump is awash in the afterglow of his firstness: first President to take his daughter to North Korea on a work trip; first President to say out loud that he has no idea what the term western liberalism means by dissing the west coast cities of the United States in response to a reporter’s question about it; first President to pass along his pension for birtherism style smear campaigns to his son, and, yes, first President to meet with a brutal North Korean dictator on that brutal North Korean dictator’s home turf and then lavish him with praise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And it’s just an honor to be with you, and it was an honor that you asked me to step over that line and I was proud to step over the line. You hear the power of that voice. Nobody’s heard that voice before. I would invite him right now. To the White House. Absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: The voice. And what a face, that look on Donald Trump’s face as he’s fawning over a dictator could be ripped straight out of the promotional photos for one of his reality shows. But now, the American President using Twitter to set that meet-up with Kim Jong-un, leaving the world to wonder are we less safe today than we were before Trump decided to play nuclear negotiator? The New York Times reports on the substance of US/North Korea negotiations that Trump may become the first American President to greenlight a North Korean nuclear power, writing this: “the concept would amount to a nuclear freeze, one that essentially enshrines the status quo, and tacitly accepts the North as a nuclear power, something administration officials have often said they would never stand for.” And that is where we start today with some of our favorite reporters and friends. Sue Mi Terry was the director for Korea, Japan, and Oceanic Affairs at the NSC under both Presidents Obama and Bush. With us at the table former Republican Congressman from Florida, now an independent, David Jolly; journalist Elise Labott, who covers foreign affairs; Sam Stein is the politics editor for Daily Beast; and with us from The Washington Post, White House Bureau Chief Phil Rucker. Phil Rucker, I start with you, just…just tell everyone, anyone that was unplugged over the hot summer weekend, give us a little ticktock. Take us through how this meeting came to be.

PHIL RUCKER: Well, President Trump was already planning to go to Seoul, South Korea for a meeting with the President there and he went on Twitter and said, you know, I’m going to be going to the demilitarized zone. Kim Jong-un, if you’re listening, if you’re watching, come meet me there, we’ll say hello and shake hands.

WALLACE: Does he not have a phone? It’s Russia, are you listening? It’s, you know, check me out on Twitter.

RUCKER: It’s Twitter diplomacy, Nicolle.

WALLACE: Yeah.

RUCKER: I mean, you have to imagine Trump has thought of this for days, if not weeks…

WALLACE: Right.

RUCKER: …before this. There were all sorts of rumors here in Washington he was planning to visit the DMZ. In fact, he let that out in an interview earlier in the week with The Hill newspaper and the White House instructed those reporters not to reveal that plan. Of course, Trump himself leaked it on Twitter.

WALLACE: Of course.

RUCKER: But he went ahead and…and did this visit and sure enough, Kim Jong-un was there with a full delegation of North Korean security officials, with propaganda photographers to capture it all and of course, it was, you know, pages and pages of propaganda in the North Korean newspapers of Kim Jong-un, the dictator, getting an audience with not just the American President but his daughter Ivanka Trump stepping foot in North Korea. It was a big win speaking in terms of propaganda for the North Koreans.

WALLACE: So how…how are we here, Elise? A big win in terms of propaganda for the North Koreans?

ELISE LABOTT: Well, I mean, Kim Jong-un has played President Trump beautifully. I mean, he knows exactly how to get what he wants from the President. The President keeps talking about that loving relationship and all Kim Jong-un has to do is show up and say nice things. I mean, I’m not someone who doesn’t think that these warming relations between the U.S. and North Korea are a bad thing, I think they’re a good thing. When you look at where the President was over a year ago talking about fire and fury, you know, he is talking to the North Korean leader. Before that, the only American to do that was Dennis Rodman. So, I mean, in, you know, actuality, that’s a good thing. But I think what the President is doing with this, what I’ve called a diplomatic booty call, which is, you know, mutually…from what I hear, is mutually (inaudible) of both parties but really doesn’t take the relationship very forward. And…and so, it’s good that there’s the atmospherics and that’s stopping tensions but it’s untethered from any policy, any discussion. They did meet and say that they would resume nuclear talks but we’ll see that when it happens. And I just think the lack of a strategy, the lack of a policy, the lack of a process, all we really have are these atmospherics and that’s great but meanwhile, the North Korean program is still continuing to develop.

WALLACE: David Jolly, there’s something so…I mean, the booty call analogy is…is a good one. I won’t take it too much farther but just the idea that it doesn’t mean anything to anyone is an apt parallel.

(...)

4:17:00 PM

WALLACE: So, David Jolly, I think those of us who cover Trump day in and day out understand that bad deals are his brand. And he idea he would sacrifice U.S. foreign policy, this is the…the obvious sort of tail to the head and body we’ve been following for three years.

DAVID JOLLY: That’s it. The, the unsettling part of this for many people was the pride with which Donald Trump stepped onto North Korean soil. The baked-in dishonesty in the narrative, the level of palpable ignorance that he demonstrated in doing so, and it reflected somebody who is putting his own brand above the national security interests not just of the United States but of the region in which Donald Trump was visiting. The level of ignorance in that moment is conveyed to somebody who doesn’t even have a working knowledge of foreign policy because for generations we’ve just trusted that our President does. And what we saw in Donald Trump this weekend was a President who has no understanding of the complexities of geopolitical strategy or national security.

WALLACE: And it would seem that on top of that, he has no personal moral compass because I’ve worked for politicians and a lot of people arrive in Congress and they’re not well briefed on the issue and the American public can tolerate a steep learning curve but I think what they…what we’ve never had before is a learning curve and someone devoid of character and sort of morals and if you look at the constant apologizing for Khashoggi, the, the, the arbitrary nature of wanting a different standard for North Korea’s nuclear program than Iran’s, it’s simply because Obama negotiated the Iran deal, I mean…I mean, just…just pair those two pieces together. What do we have?

JOLLY: As I’ve said, for Donald Trump, it’s about the ratings. And I go back to my earlier point; we have allowed as the American people Presidents to approach these issues with a certain level of uncertainty, the Iran deal being a perfect example. Some would say, “look, it put off a nuclear armed Iran for decades…”

WALLACE: It wasn’t perfect…

JOLLY: …others would say it created a nuclear pathway for Iran. And that’s where the, the debate divulged or diverged and people got the debate. But there is no question that at least President Obama was making his case. There is no case that Donald Trump is making here other than I was the first. I was the first and I’m talking to Kim Jong-un and no other President has and it just reflects an ignorance that should concern us. We shouldn’t be celebrating it, as so many, particularly on other networks, are this week.

LABOTT: Well, and also he, just super quick, he’s priding these relationships on getting a deal, that he’s this deal maker. Where are the deals?

WALLACE: There aren’t any deals.

LABOTT: There aren’t any…

 

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