On Saturday, President Trump told a crowd of supporters in West Virginia that the “beautiful letters” written by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un had made him “fall in love.” This bizarre comment was adoringly taken in by his audience but received little support elsewhere. Trump stands alone in his budding romance with Kim and it should stay that way.
Trump has quite the history with North Korea and one that, if it weren’t for the high stakes of nuclear weapons, might resemble a rom-com.
It began with an unlikely couple. Last year, Trump railed against Kim’s regime calling him “Rocket Man” on Twitter and seeming to edge the country worryingly towards confrontation. Then, the first star-crossed meeting. The two leaders met for a summit in Singapore. They signed a meaningless but nice-looking piece of paper and Trump declared victory, saying that he had ended the threat posed by North Korea.
As with any relationship, it wasn’t always perfect. When North Korea didn’t quite follow through as quickly as Trump had expected and talks between Pyongyang and Washington broke down, Trump walked back from his earlier statements. Staying true, though, he continued to talk up his relationship with Kim on Twitter.
More recently, on Wednesday, during his wide-ranging press conference, Trump said that there was now no set timeline for denuclearization, but that his administration was working towards that goal.
The romance, of course, continues, and on Saturday the president explained, “I was really being tough and so was he. And we would go back and forth. And then we fell in love. No really. He wrote me beautiful letters. They were great letters. And then we fell in love.”
How this relationship ends is anyone’s guess but, if it were a movie, the foreshadowing seems pretty heavy.
For one, Trump’s ardent defenders like Sean Hannity aren’t quick to jump in with their support or even comments on the president’s stated lover.
The Secret Service also isn’t convinced that those love letters mean no harm. Indeed, when Trump was hand delivered one at the White House by North Korean official Kim Yong Chol the Secret Service carefully checked it for dangerous substances.
Most telling of the story’s end, however, is its one-sidedness. For a man who loves to talk about reciprocal relationships when it comes to trade, Trump is awfully forgiving when it comes to North Korean denuclearization.
At the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Saturday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said that they still lacked trust in the U.S. and, until that changed, the country would keep its nuclear weapons.
He explained, “Without any trust in the U.S., there will be no confidence in our national security, and under such circumstances, there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first.”
So much for mutual love and trust.
Trump, like other U.S. presidents before him, seems to have fallen under the spell of North Korea’s seductive overtures. His friends know how the story ends and are backing away, but the president, still charmed by those letters, will hang on at least a little longer.
Although everyone, as always, hopes it will work out in the end, it seems obvious that the only question that remains is how bad that final break up will be. When nuclear arms are thrown into the mix of hot headed spurned lovers, that result might not be pretty.