Trump is trying to maintain two different faces in regards to North Korea, a private and public one.
As he tells reporters how “very well” discussions are going, inside the White House where there are no cameras, he is fuming at aides over his administration’s lack of progress, reports the Washington Post.
Trump often times likes to say that the Post likes to quote “sources” without naming them, but they claim to have spoken to a half-dozen White House aides, State Department officials and diplomats, all wanting to speak anonymously in order to presumably save their jobs and preserve the “sensitive-negotiations.”
Regardless, here are the facts:
North Korea has canceled follow-up meetings and failed to maintain even basic communications. They even requested Trump send them money for their cooperation. But, here’s the biggie: U.S. intelligence is confirming that they have no stopped their nuclear proliferation program, and a key missile-engine testing facility is still there.
This all flies in contrast to what Trump has personally been telling the public the last couple of months.
When Trump held his historic press conference with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, he said there would be an immediate denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Now, he’s saying there will be “no timetable.”
Discussions are ongoing and they’re going very, very well. We have no rush for speed … We have no time limit. We have no speed limit. We have — we’re just going through the process. But the relationships are very good. President Putin is going to be involved in the sense that he is with us.”
Trump has tried to play up his North Korea talks as a big notch on his belt internationally, saying that no president before him was ever able to pull something like this off. No wonder he is growing frustrated. While everything looked great for the cameras, though, Trump will need to follow through if he is going to be able to take credit for the North giving up its nuclear ambitions.
“Trump has been hit with a strong dose of reality of North Korea’s negotiating style, which is always hard for Americans to understand,” said Duyeon Kim, a Korea expert at the Center for a New American Security.
Related: North Korea also promised President Trump at their summit to immediately return some American war dead, but has so far left that promise unfulfilled.