Nicholas Fondacaro

President Trump shocked the world Thursday night when it was announced that he planned to sit down with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in the coming months. The political world was so overwhelmed by the news that even the journalists at CNN were more or less optimistic. Yet over at MSNBC, host Rachel Maddow was anything but enthused by the idea as she spewed skepticism and threw shade at the commander-in-chief for excepting North Korea’s offer.

Towards the beginning of her bitter rant, Maddow seemed to question the President’s intelligence and/or knowledge of history for taking the meeting:

You might think another president in this circumstance, you can imagine a president asking himself or herself, “why has no other American president ever agreed to do this? Why has no sitting American president ever met with a leader from North Korea? Why has that never happened in all the decades North Korea existed as a nation? Should I take that to mean that this might be particularly risky or even an unwise move?”

Maddow whined about how Trump wasn’t doing what most presidents and even most people would do in approaching the situation. “I think a lot of people probably suspect tonight that those are not the kinds of questions that this president asked himself before agreeing to this meeting,” she said. “But this is the president we have and he said yes to North Korea.

 

 

But meanwhile, this is the same MSNBC journalist that fawned over President Obama for the Iran nuclear deal. “[It’s] the major foreign policy achievement, not only of this presidency, but of this American generation,” she obnoxiously declared at the time. Maddow also gushed about how Obama had reached out to the dictatorial government of Cuba.

The MSNBC host was joined, via phone, by NBC National Security and Military reporter Courtney Kube and questioned her about what kind of problems Trump could cause and who in the “national security establishment” would stand up to him.

It’s definitely risky,” Kube said, stating the obvious. “So, one of the things this would do, if we have a picture of Kim Jong-un and President Trump standing next to one another, this actually achieves one of Kim Jong-un’s long-standing and his father’s goal which is to elevate North Korea.

Maddow was clearly flummoxed by the massive shift in U.S. policy following a year of other historic and unorthodox interactions with the regime that had built up to this move. “It has been through Republican and Democratic administrations, the whole strategy not only for the United States but for the United States as leader of the free world, to the extent that we are, has been to treat North Korea as a pariah state and thereby try to change their behavior,” she huffed.

A face-to-face meeting with Kim Jong-un was a unique and groundbreaking development in the ongoing war between the two Koreas. Even Maddow’s MSNBC colleagues Chris Matthews and Joe Cirincione recognized the significance of the news. On CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, former Director of National Intelligence James Clipper (who’s adamantly anti-Trump) was glad to see this moment come to fruition because it meant real progress in the ability to negotiate.

MSNBC
The Rachel Maddow Show
March 8, 2018
9:04:14 PM Eastern [7 minutes 6 seconds]

(…)

RACHEL MADDOW: Now you might imagine another president in this circumstance. Kim Jong-un makes a request, “you want to meet?” You might think another president in this circumstance, you can imagine a president asking himself or herself, “why has no other American president ever agreed to do this? Why has no sitting American president ever met with a leader from North Korea? Why has that never happened in all the decades North Korea existed as a nation? Should I take that to mean that this might be particularly risky or even an unwise move?”

I think that’s how most presidents would approach the idea of a personal presidential meeting with the North Korean dictator. I think a lot of people probably suspect tonight that those are not the kinds of questions that this president asked himself before agreeing to this meeting. But this is the president we have and he said yes to North Korea.

(…)

MADDOW: This is, correct me if I’m wrong, Courtney, you know more about this than I do. But in my living memory as a human being that pays attention to the news, I feel like there have been other announcements from North Korea they were freezing the nuclear program, that they were stopping tests and in the past, they’ve even pledged to dismantle their nuclear program. That’s what they had pledged to the Clinton administration. During the Clinton administration, of course, that all fell apart during the George W. Bush administration. There have been previous announcements from them about them stopping or taking apart the program, right?

(…)

MADDOW: Courtney, let me just ask you one last piece of this. Obviously, the huge headline here is that no other American president—no other sitting president has ever agreed to meet one on one, to meet in person with the North Korean dictator. And because this was a surprise, because the Secretary of State, you know, isn’t there, the Secretary of State is in Africa right now, there isn’t a South Korean ambassador, the long-time head of North Korea policy at the State Department just left his job just left last week.

Is there any concern that the President by agreeing to take this meeting, that he may be doing something risky? That there may be people within the national security establishment and in the military who may object to the President taking this meeting one on one?

COURTNEY KUBE: It’s definitely risky. So, one of the things this would do, if we have a picture of Kim Jong-un and President Trump standing next to one another, this actually achieves one of Kim Jong-un’s long-standing and his father’s goal which is to elevate North Korea. It’s to make them be seen as a major world power. You can make the argument that 2017 was actually really a banner year for North Korea, for the ballistic missile, and their nuclear testing. They achieved three intercontinental missiles that the Defense Intelligence Agency just said this week had the potential—had the capability of hitting North America.

You could make the argument Kim Jong-un reached the point that he wants to be at. He’s a nuclear power, he has missiles capable of hitting the United States. And now if he is to meet with President Trump, well now he’s seen as a world leader, you know, that optic of him potentially being seen as an equal to the leader of the free world, the president of the United States.

MADDOW: Wow.

(…)

MADDOW: This is a remarkable change. Right? It has been through Republican and Democratic administrations, the whole strategy not only for the United States but for the United States as leader of the free world, to the extent that we are, has been to treat North Korea as a pariah state and there by try to change their behavior. This is obviously a big change if the President is going to shake hands and meet with this guy and sit down with him one on one at the table.