President Donald Trump said Democrats “rooted against” his now-canceled summit with North Korea. In truth, Democrats were just concerned that Trump wasn’t going to be a good negotiator — and it seems their point was proven this week.
Trump tweeted his grievances out on Friday morning in an unfocused rant that covered topics of North Korea, the MS-13 gang, and tax legislation — all under Twitter’s 280 character limit, with some room to spare.
Democrats are so obviously rooting against us in our negotiations with North Korea. Just like they are coming to the defense of MS 13 thugs, saying that they are individuals & must be nurtured, or asking to end your big Tax Cuts & raise your taxes instead. Dems have lost touch!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2018
Trump accused Democrats of opposing his as-of-now canceled summit with North Korea.
“Democrats are so obviously rooting against us in our negotiations with North Korea,” Trump said.
Criticism of Trump’s sudden decision to end the summit was indeed mocked by Democratic leaders, who rightly pointed out that Trump is in way over his head when it comes to negotiating with Pyongyang. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) lashed out at the president for trying to legitimize dictator Kim Jong Un’s leadership in the first place.
When asked whether the cancellation was a good outcome, Pelosi responded that it was — for North Korea.
“I think it's a good thing for Kim Jong Un,” she said.
Pelosi further elaborated her point.
“[Trump and Kim] were on a par with each other. [Kim] got global recognition and regard,” she said. “He's the big winner. And when he got this letter from the president, saying, ‘OK, never mind,’ he must be having a giggle fit, right there, now, in North Korea.”
Rep. Eliot Engel, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, seemed to agree — and suggested Trump’s temperament played a role in disintegrating negotiations.
“The world held out hope that the Trump administration's diplomatic engagement with North Korea would bear fruit,” Engel said. “But you cannot have thin skin if you want to make progress with a difficult adversary such as the Kim regime.”
But were Democrats rooting against Trump from the get-go? Looking over the events and comments from the past month (before cancellation rumors began), just the opposite seems to be true: Democrats were almost hopeful about the president's chances for peace.
While some were skeptical of the proposed summit, others were trying to advise Trump to take the negotiations seriously and not underestimate Kim's tactics, so that the president could come up with a solution for denuclearization on the Korean peninsula.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California), one of the president’s biggest critics, exemplified the party’s attitudes.
“I think it's more than fair to say that the combination of the president's unpredictability and indeed his bellicosity had something to do with North Korea's willingness to come to the table,” Schiff said in late April.
Schiff also set out to warn the president that “we may go into a confrontational phase, and he may not want the full blame if things go south.”
It seems this administration wasn’t prepared for that possibility — faced with the chance that Kim could cancel the meeting before Trump, Trump decided to do so before his adversary could in order to avoid embarrassment.
Democrats weren’t “rooting against” the president, as he suggested in his convoluted tweet. Rather, they expressed cautious optimism for a peace deal, with caveated warnings made to Trump about how to deal with Pyongyang. It’s clear that the president didn’t heed those warnings, and now Trump wants to blame the Democrats for his own failures.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Leah Millis/Reuters