In a Thursday morning tirade on Fox & Friends, President Donald Trump revealed that his future Secretary of State (pending Senate confirmation) met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un when he wasn’t supposed to.
Here’s what Trump has to say about the visit that raised eyebrows, given that at the time, Pompeo was not yet even confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and is still director of the CIA:
“Mike Pompeo did go there. He wasn’t supposed to meet with Kim Jong-Un, but he did. He, you know, they arranged actually while he was there to say hello. We have incredible pictures of the two talking and meeting which I would love to release if we can, actually. It’s not a bad idea.”
Possibly with the exception of National Security Advisor John Bolton — who is dead-set against diplomatic talks with North Korea over the country’s nuclear and ballistic missiles program — no one thinks that meeting with Kim is a bad idea.
But a secret meeting by a man who is not yet a diplomat could have gone horribly wrong. Pompeo has repeatedly said that North Korea is a “handful of months” away from being able to strike the United States with a nuclear bomb, despite warnings from experts that overstating the threat could prompt the U.S. and North Korea to “stumble into a nuclear war.”
Trump defended his strategy with North Korea on Thursday thusly: “Look it was very, very nasty, with little ‘Rocket man’ and with the buttons and with the button — my button’s bigger– ” he said, quoting his own insults to Kim.
“Everybody said ‘this guy is going to get us into let me tell you the nuclear war’ — let me tell you, nuclear war would have happened if you had weak people. We had weak people,” added the president, failing to note that nuclear war with North Korea had, in fact, thus far been avoided by all preceding administrations.
Despite saying that Pompeo and Kim had “a great meeting” Trump then re-upped his attack on Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s Meet The Press, for saying that Trump was “giving up so much” to North Korea (Todd said that the U.S. had not set many preconditions to a potential meeting and the North Koreans “have gotten a lot” so far, and that he saw some “red flags” in the process thus far.).
“I watched sleepy-eyes chuck Todd the other day, why is the president giving up so much and North Korea is giving up nothing?” said President Trump, repeating a nickname for Todd some see as anti-Semitic.
“I said, wait a minute, just the opposite. I haven’t given up anything. I haven’t talked about it. I haven’t given up anything. They give up denuclearization, testing research. They will close different sites. I’m saying to myself, wait a minute, all these things he is given up, we haven’t really that much asked him but we would have asked him but they gave it up before I ask,” said Trump.
Of course, the United States has repeatedly asked North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, which has lead to decades of sanctions and acrimony.
For years and through many administrations, everyone said that peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was not even a small possibility. Now there is a good chance that Kim Jong Un will do what is right for his people and for humanity. Look forward to our meeting!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2018
The president also doesn’t seem to want to admit that negotiation works by each party giving something up to get something in return. In other words, he would have to give something up.