After President Donald Trump announced last week that a high-profile summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was cancelled, Republicans who cheered the initial announcement of the summit–despite their condemnation of President Barack Obama for even considering the same thing–dutifully walked back their accolades in order to support their President’s erratic negotiation style. CBS4 Denver reported Friday:
Sen. Cory Gardner says North Korea’s recent posture that contributed towards President Trump’s decision to call off the June 12 summit in Singapore fits a “pattern of misbehavior.” The promises of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s family have been broken over the decades many times, and this is nothing new, the Colorado Republican told “CBS This Morning” on Friday…
Gardner said what the U.S. is seeing is a struggle in Kim — a struggle between a peacemaker to bring his reclusive nation out of darkness, and between the propagandist. It looks like the propagandist won that debate, Gardner said. Gardner said he hopes the lingering questions of exactly why North Korea failed to communicate with the Americans will be answered.
Sen. Cory Gardner and other apologists for Trump responded initially to the announcement that the summit was off by declaring that North Korea had failed to meet specific-but-undefined benchmarks indicating their commitment to “irreversible denuclearization.” That would at least have been nominally consistent with Gardner’s previous criticism of President Obama’s overtures to North Korea, in which Gardner said that to meet with Kim Jong Un without a hard and fast agreement to denuclearize would be irresponsible.
But as it turns out, this latest flare-up was the result of Trump getting upset over boilerplate bellicose rhetoric in North Korean media. After Trump called off the summit, the leaders of the two Koreas held an emergency meeting to get things back on track, and Trump almost immediately started backing away from Thursday’s cancellation–again, with no new commitment from the North Koreans that would make either Gardner’s defense of Trump or criticism of Obama justifiable.
The reason? There is no justification. Gardner has absolutely no grounds to praise Trump for the same actions he condemned Obama for, especially now that Trump has demonstrated he is flying by the seat of his pants–basing major decisions on emotional reactions to press statements, not sober foreign policy objectives. And then walking them back. All behavior that Gardner would have absolutely lost his mind on Obama for.
Someday, hopefully soon, this will be apparent to even the most casual observer.