- Donald Trump said Thursday that he doesn’t need to prepare much for his upcoming summit with Kim Jong Un, and it might be trolling.
- There’s a ton of good evidence that Trump actually is preparing for the summit.
- There’s also reason to believe that Trump likes to freak out experts by saying provocative things.
President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he doesn’t need to prepare that much for the upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and in doing so he may be engaging in one of his favourite pastimes – trolling experts and academics.
“I think I’m very well prepared – I don’t think I have to prepare very much,” Trump said at the White House on Thursday. “It’s about attitude. It’s about willingness to get things done.”
But as Trump said that, he was hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had travelled from Tokyo to prepare for the North Korea summit.
In other remarks made during Abe’s visit, Trump said he had been talking to North Korea about signing a possible peace agreement, and appeared knowledgeable about its significance.
“We could sign an agreement, it could be a first step. What happens after the agreement, that’s really the big point,” said Trump.
Historically, North Korea hasn’t shied away from signing agreements, but in the implementation of the agreements, things fall apart. Trump’s comments on Thursday reflected an understanding of that.
Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said Trump receives daily intelligence briefings on North Korea. Pompeo said that when he was head of the CIA, Trump asked him about the country every day.
So why would Trump purposefully say, in front of his friend Abe, who has a lot to lose in the North Korea talks, that he wasn’t preparing?
Perhaps because he personally enjoys raising the blood pressure of academics and experts.
After Trump withdrew the US from the Iran deal, his last bout of nuclear negotiations, the news website Axios reported that Trump was pleased by the largely negative reaction by prominent academics.
“POTUS ran against experts – the ‘eggheads’ – and believes that rebalancing our policies on trade, defence spending, security, etc., simply makes sense,” a White House official told Axios at the time.
Trump “likes it when ‘experts’ are on CNN freaking out,” the source said.
Sure, enough, experts have freaked out.
Here’s Susan Rice, former President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser reacting to a story on Trump’s preparation on Twitter:
This is incredible and deeply worrying. Unimaginable that there would be no Principals’ or NSC meetings to prepare for the most consequential diplomatic high wire act in years. https://t.co/8zI4mdjOcs
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) June 7, 2018
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