Friday, June 15, 2018


They don't call him the Giant Toddler for nothing:
After arriving in Singapore on Sunday, an antsy and bored Trump urged his aides to demand that the meeting with Kim be pushed up by a day — to Monday — and had to be talked out of altering the long-planned and carefully negotiated summit date on the fly, according to two people familiar with preparations for the event.

“We’re here now,” the president said, according to the people. “Why can’t we just do it?”

Trump’s impatience, coupled with a tense staff-level meeting between the two sides on Sunday, left some aides fearful that the entire summit might be in peril.
That's from The Washington Post, and we're given an explanation of how trouble was averted. I don't believe this part:
Ultimately, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders persuaded Trump to stick with the original plan, arguing that the president and his team could use the time to prepare, people familiar with the talks said.
Let me clarify: I believe they said that. I don't believe the president found it persuasive. What additional preparation would Trump think he needed? Preparation for his gut, for his "feel"? I'm sure he thought his "feel" had preparing for this moment all its life.
They also warned him that he might sacrifice wall-to-wall television coverage of his summit if he abruptly moved the long-planned date to Monday in Singapore, which would be Sunday night in the United States.
Okay, that I believe was persuasive. It doesn't even make sense -- President Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden on a Sunday night, and he got wall-to-wall coverage. If someone had told Trump the bin Laden announcement was on a Sunday, not only would he have been determined to rush the summit, he would have demanded to know Obama's Nielsen ratings that night, and he would have spent the rest of his time in Singapore obsessing over whether his ratings would be higher. (And he probably would have discussed that at length with Kim Jong Un.)

The Post story also tells us this:
At one point, after watching North Korean television, which is entirely state-run, the president talked about how positive the female North Korean news anchor was toward Kim, according to two people familiar with his remarks. He joked that even the administration-friendly Fox News was not as lavish in its praise as the state TV anchor, one of the people added, and that maybe she should get a job on U.S. television, instead.
The obvious takeaway from this is that Trump is a would-be totalitarian dictator who'd doesn't understand why America should have a free press. But I think this is childishness, too. Trump tolerates, if barely, the press we have. He's said and done some disturbing things with regard to the press, but no journalists have been jailed or assassinated and no news organizations have been shut down. Mostly Trump just threatens and complains. It's fair to say that he admires state-run North Korean news because he has dictatorial instincts, but it can also be argued that he'd like our media to be that way because he's lazy. He wants uniformly positive press, but he doesn't want to earn it. He just wants it handed to him on a platter, the way Mom serves dinner every night when you're a little child.

Or you could put the two ideas together and say that Trump wants totalitarian powers but doesn't want to work to acquire them. I believe Trump has no loyalty to our system of government and would have no qualms about ruling by force, but he isn't willing to make the effort required to seize power. Even Kim Jong Un has done the work, and he was once believed to be too immature and feckless to hold on to power. He's a brutal SOB, but he'd never have gotten this far if he shared Trump's belief that it shouldn't be necessary to work for what you want.

... And as I write this, here's Trump on the front lawn of the White House, talking with a guy who's nearly as deferential as that North Korean newsreader:
President Trump on Friday morning observed that Fox & Friends was filming on the White House lawn and announced that he would make an “unannounced visit” down to speak with his favorite morning cable show.

During the resulting chat with host Steve Doocy, the president repeatedly and lavishly praised North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, with whom he met earlier this week, remarking: “He’s the head of a country—and I mean he’s the strong head. He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same.”
See? "I want my people to do the same." Trump likes the idea of absolute control over the population he rules. But he wishes it would just happen.

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