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Today's Commentary: Historic moment: Trump meets Kim --- Dennis Rodman's emotional interview -- Liberal Media Spins North Korea Summit -- Rough translation -- Larry Kudlow -- Evening Edition - Daily Verse
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As predicted, today turned out to be a day that will go down in history. It’s the worst day ever for Robert DeNiro. And Stephen Colbert. And Joy Behar.
But even more importantly, it is a “yuuuuuuge” turning point for relations between North Korea and the US (and the world.) We saw the culmination of a stunning series of events that started with nuclear threats and twitter insults between North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un and President Trump, events that brought warnings of a nuclear apocalypse...but which somehow led to a friendly meeting between the two, followed by a surprise signing of a document crafted in secret but changed at the last minute to add more concessions from Kim, such as agreeing to destroy a missile engine testing site. Trump had previously said that it might take several meetings before they reached the stage of signing anything. I guess unlike previous Presidents, he thinks it’s not a good negotiating strategy to let the other side know what you plan to do before you do it.
The know-it-alls who mercilessly mocked Trump’s tweets about “Rocket Man” and “my nuclear button is bigger than yours” learned, via a post-summit interview with Sean Hannity, that the strong rhetoric was an important part of Trump’s strategy to get Kim to the table and it worked. Trump even admitted that he felt foolish and a little embarrassed about tweeting it at the time. Don’t worry, Mr. President: there are other people who should definitely feel more foolish and embarrassed than you.
Trump made it clear that the document is not a treaty or agreement, just an early-stage declaration of intentions. He’s taking the Reagan approach of “trust, but verify” (in one amusing moment during his post-signing press conference, he said if Kim fails to live up to his promises, he’ll come back in six months and admit he was wrong – well, actually, he’ll probably make an excuse and not admit he was wrong. That may be the most honest thing anyone in politics has said in years.)
The document calls for North Korea to completely dismantle its nuclear program, which Trump said will take a long time due to scientific constraints, but once it's started, can't be reversed. The US will halt its joint war games with South Korea that Kim saw as a provocation (Trump noted that will save the US a lot of money anyway) and offer some security guarantees, but the nuclear disarmament must come first and be verified before any concessions, such as lifting sanctions, are made. So there’s still a long way to go, but at least this is a hopeful start that we never could have imagined just one year ago.
Trump also got Kim to agree to return the remains of MIAs and POWs from the Korean War to their families in the US, many of whom had urged Trump to help finally bring them some closure after many years. When asked why he thought Kim had seemingly changed his attitude and this wasn’t yet another sucker deal, Trump credited the attention focused North Korea over the treatment and death of American Otto Warmbier, which shocked and saddened the world. He kindly assured Warmbier’s parents that their son had not died in vain.
As to why Trump has seemingly accomplished what previous Administrations could not, one could argue that he had a tough, competent team; he understands that you negotiate from a position of strength; he didn’t delegate his authority to the U.N.; and he’s the master of the “art of the deal.” But don’t discount the importance of bringing a businessman’s perspective to a process that’s heretofore been dominated by professional diplomats, bureaucrats and politicians.
Trump revealed that he’d had a computer-animated video created to show Kim on his iPad, illustrating the kind of booming economic development North Korea could enjoy if it turned away from war and opened its society. He even pointed out the excellent “location, location, location” of having real estate between China and South Korea, and noted that the beaches where Kim put cannons could be the site of luxury hotels. He said this seemed to have an impact on Kim.
In fact, after meeting with Trump, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kim not only agreed to give up his nukes, but also to buy a timeshare condo in a Trump resort.
Dennis Rodman's emotional interview
By Mike Huckabee
One of the more surreal sidelights to the startling and momentous events in Singapore was an interview given by ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman to CNN. Rodman became friendly with Kim Jong-Un after he started visiting North Korea five years ago to help train basketball players. His description of the murderous dictator as a “big kid” who just likes to have fun brought him mockery in the US from late night comics, and, he told CNN, so many death threats that he couldn’t go home for 30 days.
Wearing a red “MAGA” cap and a T-shirt promoting his sponsor (a marijuana-based cryptocurrency), Rodman became emotional as he praised Trump (whom he knows from “Celebrity Apprentice”) and blasted Barack Obama. He revealed that he had tried years ago to deliver a message from Kim to Obama about his willingness to negotiate, but Obama "didn't even give me the time of day -- he just brushed me off.”
This is part of a new twist on the double standard (call it “Celebrity Double Standard.”) The media celebrated Obama as the king of cool for hanging out with stars such as Jay-Z, Beyonce and Bruce Springsteen. But they ridiculed Trump for meeting with Kim Kardashian, even though it led to him commuting a life sentence for an African-American great-grandmother convicted of a non-violent drug crime. And they mocked Dennis Rodman, even though he now praises Trump for doing what Obama refused to and possibly turning a new page in history with the North Korea summit. So the media’s problem isn’t with Presidents talking to celebrities; it’s with them talking to anyone who’s not an A-list celebrity. Or who has an actual issue to discuss.
Just a reminder of something that Trump has always kept in mind: despite the sniping about his own ego, he realizes that the job of President is, at its core, a civil service job. He knows he doesn’t work for the political establishment or the media, he works for the people. Kim Kardashian and West Virginia coal miners have just as much right to his attention as Hollywood moguls or Wall Street bankers. That’s why he recently took 90 minutes out of his incredibly busy schedule to shake the hand of each and every graduate of the US Naval Academy.
It’s ironic that a President who was criticized for being a “celebrity” seems to care so little about whether the people he helps or listens to are celebrities. Maybe it’s because he has spent so much time in Hollywood and New York celebrity circles that the A-listers' endless attacks on him don’t faze him. He’d probably rather have the approval of construction workers, anyway.
Liberal Media Spins North Korea Summit
By Mike Huckabee
I was anxiously awaiting the morning shows and headlines from the liberal media to see how they could possibly spin President Trump’s summit with Kim Jong-Un as a horrible, awful, no-good, very bad thing. And they didn’t disappoint. It seems that Trump failed by not calling out Kim on being a murderous, oppressive dictator to his face (they seem a bit unclear on the subtleties of negotiations). He also didn’t get Kim to promise to empty his prisons and respect human rights (certainly the ultimate goal, but as they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and you first have to convince a killer to put down his gun before you can reform him.) Then there’s the ever-popular, “Trump gave Kim what he wanted: legitimizing him by appearing next to him on the world stage.”
That’s odd, I thought these people spent the past 18 months “resisting” legitimizing Trump as America’s President. Now, they think he’s so legitimate that his mere proximity causes legitimacy to rub off on those around him, like glitter off of Elton John’s dinner jacket. This idea that a US President can’t talk to a tyrant because it might “legitimize” him is absurd. How else do we deal with him? Do we simply ignore his threats and refuse to speak to him? That was the policy throughout the Obama years. To quote Dr. Phil, “How did that work out for ya?” News bulletin to Washington: you can’t solve problems you refuse to admit exist (See “national debt” and “Social Security and Medicare ‘trust funds.’”)
I seriously doubt anyone is rushing to market cuddly Kim Jong-Un Beanie Baby dolls. We all know what he is. The point of the meeting was to see if he can change. If not, we’ll have to deal with him in harsher ways, and Trump made it clear he’s well aware of that fact. Meanwhile, how many of Trump’s critics were equally outraged over Obama “legitimizing” some of the awful leaders he did opt to deal with, like the Muslim Brotherhood-backed President of Egypt, the mullahs of Iran, or the Castros in Cuba? Or Hillary Clinton's meetings with Vladimir Putin? Or Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright meeting with Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il? As Mike Rowe would say, dealing with these high-placed lowlifes is a dirty job, but “somebody’s gotta do it.” At least Trump approached this tyrant from a position of strength instead of with a no-strings-attached planeload of money.
The unrelenting attacks even on a day like this remind me of a great comment I saw on a story on the Internet. Someone wrote that Trump could end all war and cure cancer, and the New York Times would respond with an article about the suffering of unemployed undertakers.
By Mike Huckabee
Here's my rough, amateur translation of what Kim and his generals said after the meeting:
Generals: Why did you sign the document before we had a chance to read it?!
Kim: I couldn't help it, he's just so GOOD at this! I think I agreed to give up my nukes and buy a timeshare condo at a Trump resort!
By Mike Huckabee
Prayers and get well wishes to White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow, who suffered a “mild” heart attack Monday and was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Doctors say he is in good condition and is expected to make a full and speedy recovery.
Evening Edition - June 11
By Mike Huckabee
A wrap-up of all the news you might have missed yesterday!
"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us."
- 1 John 5:14