Perspectives

Was N. Korean Summit All Glitz and No Substance? — TIME Reporter Analyzes


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The meeting in Singapore between President Donald Trump and N. Korean leader Kim Jong Un was most assuredly historic. It was the first time that a N. Korean leader had met face-to-face with a sitting U.S. President.
But, was the meeting substantive and did it produce any lasting results? That is the question politicians, journalists, and analysts are asking as President Trump wings his way back to Washington.
The first reviews are tepid, according to TIME Washington correspondent Philip Elliott, and the President might not get the fanfare that he wants and expects.
The wait-and-see attitude is even pervasive with some members of Trump’s own party like Sen. Lindsey Graham. He said that this is a start but a long way from any “agreement” with North Korea to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, according to the veteran Senator.
Elliott in a conversation with the Spectrum podcast also discusses the optics of the summit and its political viability in the mid-term elections in November.
He contrasted the praise given to Kim Jong Un by Trump and other administrative officials on the heels of disparaging remarks by Pres. Trump and others toward U.S. allies like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada.
Trump was openly hostile toward the G-7 allies and their leaders, says Elliott, while saying it was an “honor” to meet with Kim, calling him a “great leader.” The contrasts in Presidential styles between historic allies and an adversary were noted all across Washington, Elliott adds.
In his conversation, Elliott also talks about the onslaught of attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller by a quartet of GOP Congressmen, outside-counsel Rudy Giuliani, FOX News hosts and the President himself. Elliott notes that the “War against Mueller” is damaging the investigation’s standing with the general public. This may have long-term impacts on any potential Congressional actions against Trump.
Finally, Elliott gives Spectrum listeners insight on who’s “IN” and who’s “OUT” at the White House – the revolving door of political advisors and staffers.
Before joining TIME, Elliott spent a decade covering politics, campaign finance, education and the White House for the Associated Press.