President Donald Trump and his cabinet are very proud of the outcome of the North Korea summit that was held earlier this week. Just don’t ask them about the details of it.
While fielding questions from the press, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared agitated at a reporter’s question regarding the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula — a pillar of the reason why Trump met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
“The president said [denuclearization] will be verified” within the agreement, the reporter posited.
“Of course it will,” Pompeo responded.
“Can you tell us a little bit more about what is, what is — what discussed about how?” the reporter continued.
That was apparently too much for Pompeo to handle.
“Just so you know, you could ask me this, I find that question insulting and ridiculous and, frankly, ludicrous,” he said. “I just have to be honest with you, it’s a game and one ought not to play games with serious matters like this.”
Pompeo further chastised the reporter, telling them it’s inappropriate to say “silly things” like that.
But the question is a serious one, and Pompeo’s attempts to deflect it are deeply troubling. How exactly will we know when or if North Korea has dismantled its nuclear program? Beyond that, how do we define “denuclearization,” and is North Korea on the same page as us within the confines of that definition?
For us to trust a nation that has frequently promised us to end its nuclear program, and subsequently reneged on those promises, the Trump administration seems to be giving Pyongyang an incredible level of trust.
Pompeo’s attacks against journalists, who have reasonable questions about the details of the “deal” forged between Trump and Kim, are abhorrent. The press’ duty is to ask these types of questions. There is a reason to be skeptical, after all, that North Korea will agree to denuclearization, and there should be measures in place to ensure that they are compliant with such an agreement.
Asking about those measures isn’t insulting, ridiculous, or ludicrous. Pompeo’s response to those questions, on the other hand, is all three.