President Trump said that the House hearing to let convicted liar Michael Cohen fill the Congressional Record with scurrilous accusations against Trump (for which he offered no evidence and even contradicted his own testimony) might have contributed to him having to walk away from the denuclearization talks with North Korea.
Naturally, those comments were met with mockery and derision by the mainstream media, but that means nothing, since everything Trump does is met by them by mockery and derision (except for things that are undeniably positive, like the stunning job growth since he took office. That’s handled by either ignoring it or implausibly crediting Obama for it.)
I suspect there must be a laminated workplace poster in about 95% of American newsrooms that reads thusly:
“How to Handle News About President Trump
1. If it’s bad, lead with it.
2. If it’s good, ignore it.
3. If he says anything, mock and nitpick it.”
This replaced the old posters about how to handle stories on Obama, where the first two were the opposite and the third was, “Whatever he says, call it brilliant.”
Since I don’t have to follow the standard media rules and can actually look honestly at what Trump says, let’s examine his claim to see if there’s any validity to it.
First of all, was it necessary to schedule the hearing on the very day Trump was in Vietnam, trying to get Kim Jong Un to give up his nukes? Well, Cohen wasn’t scheduled to go to prison for two weeks. The case is still under investigation and he was barred from showing any new evidence, even if he had any. So no, there was no reason to undermine the President while he was on an extremely important mission for America and the world. We used to have an unwritten rule that you don’t attack your own leader when he’s on foreign soil, but apparently, no rules of decent or patriotic conduct apply anymore, at least not on the left.
The Democrats made it clear in advance that they were fishing for ways to embarrass Trump and try to find any excuse to impeach him. So I think it’s fair to say that they ranked partisan politics above doing what was best for America, as well as Japan and other neighboring nations endangered by a nuclear North Korea.
Now, did the hearing have any bearing on Trump walking away? It’s obvious that the North Korean regime watches what’s happening in the US very closely. They saw that they were negotiating with a President whose political enemies were attacking them with everything they had to try to remove him. Offhand, I can think of two reactions they might have had.
They might have suspected Trump was weakened and desperate to get a deal for some positive headlines. Or they might have been reticent to cooperate for fear that any deal they signed would be DOA in a Congress that hates him, or null and void if he were forced out of office. Both of those reactions would have made them less likely to yield to Trump’s demands, which forced him to walk away.
So yes: it’s entirely possible that the talks were fatally undermined by the mindless partisanship of the Democratic Party. I’m sure some will say I’m being unfair if I suggest that their priorities are opposing Trump first and American security second. To which I would respond, “Say, didn’t they used to be in favor of a border wall before Trump embraced it?” They also used to be against a nuclear North Korea, but considering that danger worsened for 20 years until Trump came along and finally tried to do something about it, maybe it’s just another pro-American stance to which they paid lip service and never really meant it.
But I will point out three good things about Trump having to walk away: He sent a message to Kim that he will not be rolled, no matter what his political opponents do, so Kim has to agree to a deal Trump will accept or deal with sanctions. He also sent a message to the Chinese that he’s willing to walk away from a trade deal if it’s not in America’s interests regardless of partisan criticism. And the whole embarrassing mess sent a loud and clear message to American voters about the priorities of the two parties. In 2020, you will have to pick between the party that is trying to take nuclear weapons away from North Korea and the party that was willing to ruin that effort just to go nuclear on Donald Trump. The choice is yours.