Though Kim Jong Un has a long train ride back to Pyongyang to ponder how the collapse of Thursday’s talks in Hanoi might impact his relationship with Trump, senior officials in his government are already signaling that the detente between the two geopolitical rivals might be over, having deliberately undermined President Trump by contradicting his version events during a midnight press conference – even going so far as to suggest that Kim has “lost the will” to continue negotiating (since North Korea’s “reasonable” position “will never change” – something that US intel analysts have been saying for months).
And as we wait for a rebuttal from President Trump (who will arrive back home much quicker than Kim despite the greater geographical distance), it’s worth noting that the reaction to Trump’s performance in Hanoi – which provoked some twitter wits to joke that he managed to find another way for America to “lose” in Vietnam – hasn’t been as negative as one might have expected.
In one of the few examples of true bipartisanship during the Trump era, lawmakers from both parties chimed in on Twitter and on the floor of the Senate to praise President Trump for having the temerity to walk away from the table.
Confounding Trump’s allies and his enemies, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer even praised the president during a speech on the Senate floor for choosing to walk away instead of accepting an inferior deal that would have made the US less safe in the long run.
And Schumer wasn’t the only Democratic leader to offer praise. According to Bloomberg, Nancy Pelosi told reporters “It’s good that the president did not give him anything for the little he was proposing,” and that “diplomacy is important; we all support it,” but the prospects for a deal were dim.
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy tweeted that, while he wished Trump had stood up to Kim on the North’s “brutal” human rights record (a sentiment that was echoed by other Democrats), “talking is never a bad idea and no deal is better than a bad one.”
Marco Rubio took a brief break from tweeting about Venezuela to contradict an Axios report about his reaction to the talks, saying that, while he would love to “deal with a #NorthKorea that eliminates their nuclear weapons”, agreeing to “sanctions relief while allowing them to hide warheads” would not only be a bad deal, but a “dangerous one.”
Taking a slightly more belligerent tack, Senator Lindsey Graham applauded Trump for walking away, affirmed that the only good deal would be complete denuclearization and warned that, if relations with NK completely break down, there may come a time when the nuclear threat posed by North Korea must be dealt with “one way of the other.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, said Trump should be “commended” for his performance.
But the response wasn’t all positive. Virginia senator and former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine questioned why Trump decided to ‘stick up‘ for Kim by telling reporters he believed Kim had no knowledge of the brutal treatment suffered by US student Otto Warmbier in a “rough” North Korean prison.
Both Pelosi and Kaine agreed that Trump’s willingness to defend dictators was troubling.
Still, it’s hardly surprising given all of the evidence that the intelligence community has unearthed showing that NK has continued its nuclear program at several clandestine sites exposed by satellites. Trump said that Kim expressed surprise when he presented him with evidence of the secret sites during the talks.
While it’s still unclear exactly what impact the collapse of the Hanoi talks might have on Trump’s negotiations with China, equity bulls better hope that Trump doesn’t take the phrase “no deal is better than a bad one” to heart.
Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.