Reports that President Trump walked out of an interview with CBS’s John Dickerson over the weekend indicated that it didn’t go so well, but the actual content of the interview reveals that it went even worse than expected, in terms of not freaking officials in Washington out. In response to Dickerson’s question about the possibility of war with North Korea, Trump said: “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see.”
Although “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see” has not been named the official Trump doctrine by the White House, the majority of his policy positions seem to be coalescing around that view.
Trump continued his Rainbow Tour on the North Korean issue in an interview published today by Bloomberg News, in which he said he would meet with North Korean president Kim Jong-Un “under the right circumstances” and that he would be “honored to do it.”
Many in Washington were not jazzed about this language. “It’s one thing to talk with an adversarial foreign leader; it’s another to lend them the legitimacy of saying you, the president of the United States, would be honored to meet them,” wrote Washington Post political reporter Aaron Blake this afternoon.
“Obviously, when you say you’d be honored for someone who’s a brutal dictator, someone who no American president has ever met with a leader of that country, it’s going to raise a lot of concerns,” said MSNBC’s Chris Jansing.
He’s even taking some criticism from outspoken Trump supporters like former Rep. Joe Walsh, who, in an interview with MSNBC’s Katy Tur, said “As a Trump supporter, I do my best not to listen to what he says.”
“To say that you would be ‘honored’ to meet with Kim Jong-Un is beyond offensive,” Walsh said, adding, “There’s no way Trump should have said ‘honor.'” You can watch a clip of the interview in the embedded tweet below.
Joe Walsh: “As a Trump supporter I do my best not to listen to what he says.” Me: Then why are you a supporter? https://t.co/XTKpYtG8cj
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) May 1, 2017
Trump has a history of praising authoritarian leaders. He called Kim a “smart cookie,” and this week, he invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House, which the New York Times said “stuns aides and critics alike.”
Tensions between the United States and North Korea have risen in the last few weeks, as North Korea has shown intent to develop its missile technology and Trump had hinted that a “major, major conflict” was possible.