© 2024 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Blue Ridge Mountains banner background
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Opinion: Donald Trump 'Fell In Love' With Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump walks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June.
Evan Vucci
President Donald Trump walks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June.

In the crush of urgent news, some astounding events can almost slip past.

At a rally in West Virginia last Saturday, President Trump told the crowd about feelings he has developed for Kim Jong Un. Remember when the president mocked North Korea's supreme leader as "Little Rocket Man," and Kim ridiculed Trump as a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard"?

Something else was going on.

Trump said, "I was really being tough. And so was he. And we'd go back and forth. And then we fell in love. OK? No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters. And they're great letters. We fell in love. But you know what? Now, they'll say 'Donald Trump said they fell in love, how horrible. How horrible is that? So un-presidential.' "

At least unprecedented.

Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt were uncommonly close leaders during the darkest hours of the Second World War. FDR once cabled Churchill, "It is fun to be in the same decade with you."

But Kim Jong Un, the leader for whom Donald Trump has declared his devotion, presides over a cruel kingdom of repression, torture, starvation, assassinations, abduction, forced abortion, public executions and slave labor. It isn't fun to even be in the same hemisphere with Kim Jong Un.

It wouldn't be surprising for any president to toss an occasional bouquet toward Kim, if it encourages him to abandon nuclear weapons. When Hitler's Germany invaded the U.S.S.R. in 1941, Winston Churchill, who had long denounced Stalin, welcomed him into alliance, and explained, "If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons."

But Senator Lindsey Graham, who has recently supported the administration, said this week, "I'm telling President Trump: Enough with 'I love you.' ... There's nothing to love about Kim Jong Un."

The letters between President Trump and Kim Jong Un haven't been made public. But don't you wonder what charm and blandishments have made President Trump so besotted with a man who had his own half-brother poisoned, and his uncle executed? Maybe there's just something about a despot in a high-buttoned pinstripe suit.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.