Congratulations tin-pot dictators everywhere: not only will the United States fruitlessly negotiate with you, we will also emblazon your image in a coin and call you the "Supreme Leader" pic.twitter.com/czorOPYTzp— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) May 21, 2018
The U.S. military has issued a commemorative challenge coin for President Donald Trump’s summit with North Korea’s despotic leader Kim Jong Un — and it comes with a lot of problems.
The White House Communications Agency, a special military unit that provides support to the president and his staff, has been issuing challenge coins to memorialize big accomplishments or events. The tradition first began for soldiers who performed impressive feats but has now spread to the civilian parts of the government as well.
So, it’s not a problem that the president ordered a coin with his face on it, lauding his denuclearization peace talks with North Korea, to be made.
However, this particular coin is troubling.
The coin depicts Trump and Kim face to face with each other, sparking concerns over Kim being given such a notable platform alongside the U.S. president. The blue and red coin is emblazoned with the words “Peace Talk” above them and both the men’s names are printed around the coin’s border. Kim is also referred to as “Supreme Leader” which does not sound quite right, considering the hermit kingdom is currently holding 120,000 North Koreans in its inhumane labor camps.
Moreover, the regime is responsible for the death of Otto Warmbier, an American college student, who was arrested for allegedly taking down a North Korean propaganda poster from the wall of a hotel.
But the biggest issue is that the summit between the two leaders has not yet taken place. Trump’s decision to celebrate what he says is the end of North Korea’s nuclear test program is premature. What’s more, Kim recently threatened to cancel the summit — which is scheduled to be held on June 12 in Singapore — if the hermit kingdom does not reap any benefits from the talks. If that happens, Trump will have nothing to justify his failure.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is one of the people calling for the removal of Kim’s profile form the coin.
I urge the White House to take Kim off the coin. Challenge coins are a time honored tradition and certainly appropriate in this situation, but Kim Jong Un’s face has no place on this coin. He is a brutal dictator and something like the Peace House would be much more appropriate. https://t.co/ZHUKVqW7yN— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 22, 2018
The Peace House is located at the border between North and South Korea and was previously proposed by Trump as a meeting place for the peace talk.
Robert E. Kelly, a political analyst on Korean international affairs called the coin “gross” and “un-American.”
Are you kidding me?! This is just gross. Whose personality cult exactly is this summit legitimizing? This is un-American. Can’t imagine what Fox would say if any other POTUS did this. Wow. Just wow. https://t.co/rn79W4RWO9 via @voxdotcom— Robert E Kelly (@Robert_E_Kelly) May 22, 2018
People on social media are also ridiculing the two chubby men’s profiles. Trump’s jaw line seems to be more streamlined than it is in real life, while Kim Jong Un has rolls of fat under his chin.
I wonder if Kim Jong Un will like the extra few chins they added to the Military Office coin. pic.twitter.com/LzIKiSRwSI— Levi Gibian (@LeviGibian) May 21, 2018
When questioned, the White House spokesman Raj Shah said it is common practice for souvenir coins to be made after a public announcement of a trip.
White House on trip coins: pic.twitter.com/GiXWP2G8X3— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) May 21, 2018
Banner/Thumbnail credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images