Trump Undermines Tillerson on North Korea

Donald Trump took time off from insulting Puerto Ricans today to toss a few tweet bombs at his own secretary of state about North Korea.

Rex Tillerson let on yesterday that the U.S. was in “direct contact” with the North Korean government. But Trump tweeted out — sometime between breakfast and attending an awards ceremony at his golf course — that his secretary of state shouldn’t bother.


Los Angeles Times:

President Trump said on Sunday he told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson not to waste his time trying to negotiate with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un — an extraordinary public undercutting of the top American diplomat.

The president’s stunning contradiction of Tillerson, amid high tensions with North Korea over its nuclear and ballistics programs, came in the form of tweets sent from his New Jersey golf resort just a day after Tillerson, in China, said the United States has direct contacts in North Korea and is “probing” for negotiations.

Trump’s derisive nickname for the North Korean leader — “Little Rocket Man” —  has previously drawn an angry response from the government in Pyongyang. And the president’s implied threat — “We’ll do what has to be done!” — is the latest in a series of saber-rattling remarks that have raised anxieties among not only U.S. allies in Asia, but the American public as well.

Veteran diplomats and foreign policy experts have been shocked by Trump’s seeming glee at baiting Kim, a thin-skinned, isolated leader. The president’s latest tweet brought new expressions of alarm.

Former State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said on Twitter that “undercutting your Secretary of State publicly is a cardinal sin of diplomacy.”

“Unpresidential,” he added.


Trump also showed a towering ignorance of history:

Kim came to power in 2011 so Bush and Clinton did not negotiate with “Rocket Man.” But then, to Trump, all those kinds of people look alike anyway.

Trump deludes himself by thinking he shows strength with this kind of sand box behavior. All it does is reveal him to be a pathetic, ignorant, miserable excuse for a president — and shows us that he’s likely to blunder into World War III.


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