President Donald Trump’s most daring foreign policy gamble reverberated today, as diplomats, world observers and the political class picked over his willingness to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Yesterday’s stunning announcement that Trump had accepted an invitation to meet with the man he’s derided as a “little Rocket Man” shook the world.
It was also, as POLITICO’s Michael Crowley explains, classic Trump. A bold move — a willingness to “say the things others wouldn’t; do the things they didn’t dare.”
“Trump’s taboo-breaking instinct was most recently on clear display in his December decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel … Trump officials say (previous leaders’ unwillingness to do so) was a key factor behind the president’s thinking, something he made clear in a Dec. 6 statement from the White House: ‘While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver,” Trump said. “Today, I am delivering.’”
Of course, there was another component that was classic Trump: Confusion. The shocking announcement from a South Korean official on Thursday was followed, today, by a White House that seemed to be retreating, at least somewhat.
“The White House … appeared to set tougher conditions for a meeting between President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, saying that the North must take “concrete steps” toward denuclearizing. The White House also seemed to back away from the two-month timeframe laid out by South Korean officials.”
Elsewhere in President Trump’s orbit:
TRUMP BUMP: The economy added 313,000 jobs last month as the economy added the most jobs in a single month of the Trump’s presidency.
NUN YOUR BUSINESS: After theatrically promising in interviews to not respond to special counsel Robert Mueller’s subpoena, former Trump aide Samuel Nunberg talked to a grand jury today.
GONE QUIET: Even as a wave of leaks have hit his investigation, Mueller has remained silent leaving Washington and Trumpworld to ponder a number of unknowns about his investigation.
TRUMP REBATE: The Trump Organization sent more than $150,000 to the Treasury — its profits from foreign governments official use of Trump facilities.
CLIMATE CHANGED: White House chief of staff John Kelly vetoed an idea by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to stage a climate change debate, the New York Times Reports.
DEVELOPING STORY: President Trump pardoned a Navy submariner who was set to face prison time for taking a photograph of a classified engine room.
BIDEN, HIS TIME?: Former Vice President Joe Biden is looking at options to take on President Trump in 2020, including a potential presidential bid.
NOT RUSSIAN TO HELP: Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russians indicted in Mueller’s investigation are “not my problems.”
STORMY LETTER: The White House acknowledged that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen sent correspondence to adult film actress Stormy Daniels’ legal team from a Trump.org email address per NPR.
There you have it. You’re caught up on the Trump administration. Happy Friday.