Washington Monthly | Why Did Trump Flip-Flop So Dramatically on North Korea?
It has recently been reported that Kim Jong Nam, the murdered half brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, was a CIA source. When asked about that story, the president’s response was rather bizarre.
Fascinating backstory. Trump gets asked abt report that Kim Jong Un‘s brother was a CIA source. Kim Jong Nam was assassinated in 2017 by North Korea. Trump responds by pledging to Kim that he won’t let the CIA do that “under my auspices.” cc @benjaminwittes @MaxBoot @ColinKahl pic.twitter.com/UbGoWyYwX0
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) June 11, 2019
It is unclear whether Trump was pledging to not recruit members of Kim Jong Un’s family as CIA sources or to not spy on the North Koreans at all. Either way, the president’s remarks amount to another slap in the face to our intelligence services and a great gift to one of the most dangerous regimes in the world.
The president then went on to talk about a “beautiful letter” he just received from Kim Jong Un, which he obviously can’t share with anyone. It seems that the two leaders have become quite the pen pals lately.
All of this reminds us once again that the president did a complete 180 degree turn on the North Korean dictator. As a reminder, here are some of the things he said in the past.
June 30, 2017
The years of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed. Many years and they failed. It’s failed. And frankly, that patience is over. Together we are facing the threat of the reckless and brutal regime in North Korea…The North Korean dictatorship has no regard for the safety and security of its people or its neighbors and has no respect for human life. And that’s been proven over and over again.
August 8, 2017
North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening — beyond a normal statement — and as I said, they will be met with fire, fury and, frankly, power the likes of which the world has never seen before.
September 19, 2017
The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.
October 1, 2017
…Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!
Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now? Clinton failed, Bush failed, and Obama failed. I won’t fail.
November 7, 2017
All responsible nations must join forces to isolate the brutal regime of North Korea — to deny it any form of support, supply or acceptance. The longer we wait, the greater the danger grows, and the fewer the options become.
November 30, 2017
The Chinese Envoy, who just returned from North Korea, seems to have had no impact on Little Rocket Man. Hard to believe his people, and the military, put up with living in such horrible conditions. Russia and China condemned the launch.
January 2, 2018
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!
Trump’s rhetoric about North Korea did a complete flip-flop in March 2018, as talk about a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un began to take shape. Now we see that the two leaders are supposedly exchanging love letters.
We can only speculate about what happened that changed the president’s tune so dramatically. What can be eliminated as an explanation is the possibility that North Korea has made any real concessions that prompted this reversal. So, given what we know about this president, it is hard to avoid questions about whether Kim Jong Un has something on Trump.
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