There’s been a lot of pressure placed on the president thanks to interests who have sought to remind him of the fact that coming into office, he had no experience in public service, and it’s not as though you can just “fake it” when it comes to being president. You have to have a solid head on your shoulders about things for it to work. The United States presidency has higher stakes than the top position at a private real estate company.
The president’s inexperience and self-reliance have reared their heads in obtrusive ways in the just over a year that he’s been in office. He has not sought to correct his lack of experience via following established norms in his execution of the presidency; instead, he has forged ahead with the apparent idea that he is the best source for norms with which to conduct his presidency.
Among the examples of this behavior is the fact that he’s separated himself from traditional concerns of American values to the point of finding it nothing to endlessly attack the media, lambasting swaths of the mainstream media landscape as the “enemy of the American people.”
Another recent example of this behavior is the president’s abrupt decision to accept an invitation from the North Koreans for a meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. He seemed to have blindsided his senior staff members with that decision, although of course his staff claimed otherwise.
These two examples came together at a rally in Pennsylvania late Saturday, a rally serving to boost the candidacy of Rick Saccone for the Congressional seat vacated by Tim Murphy, the anti-abortion Republican who resigned after it came out that he had sought to pressure a woman with whom he was having an affair to have an abortion.
Saccone is pitted against Democrat Conor Lamb in the race for the seat. The two have been neck-in-neck in recent polls, and the election will likely serve for many as an indicator of how the broad midterm elections later this year will go. Democrats, of course, hope to pick up enough seats to become the majority party in at least one if not both houses of Congress.
At the Saturday Pennsylvania rally held for Saccone, the president brought up the issue of North Korea and used it as an opportunity to attack the media.
He called the current host of NBC’s Meet The Press, Chuck Todd, a “sleeping son of a bitch,” drawing cheers from the crowd.
He did so in the context of discussing his 1999 appearance on the program, at which time he insisted that the then-burgeoning threat of the North Korean nuclear arsenal should be dealt with through negotiating “like crazy.” He also at the time seemed to indicate that he was open to using military force against the country if the negotiations fell through.
It’s ironic for him to bring up this appearance of his now, since you’d think that going into a potential meeting with the North Koreans, the president would want to play down his past threats for military action.
To be clear, going forward, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted Friday that the president would not meet with Kim Jong-un unless the North Koreans took concrete steps to undermine their nuclear program.
To be further clear, however, it’s unclear how this insistence will manifest. Sanders offered few details Friday about what steps the North Koreans would be required to take.
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