In its darker moments, the Trump presidency resembles a heavy-handed, Bush-era satire of how fascism would come to America. In lighter moments, however, it looks and sounds more like a comedy of errors.
Donald Trump’s performance at his summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore fell into the latter category. In the context of a diplomatic spectacle — that appears to have reduced the probability of imminent nuclear war — it was almost possible to take pleasure in the farce that American politics has become. At various points Monday night, it was hard not to suspect that the unfolding events had been dreamed up in a (baked-out) Hollywood writer’s room:
What if a seedy, celebrity real-estate developer was mistaken for the president of the United States? And, like, he has to fake his way through a historic diplomatic summit? And he’s not even willing to prepare. Could we work in a random, C-list cameo? Maybe Dennis Rodman is there to, uh … promote a cryptocurrency specifically designed for buying weed? BluntBucks. CanniBitCoin. PotCoin!
Anyhow, here are the five funniest things that our punch line of a president said in Singapore.
It’s worth thinking about America’s nuclear stand-off with a totalitarian dictatorship “from a real-estate perspective.”
“They have great beaches,” the president said of North Korea at a post-summit press conference. “You see that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean. I said, ‘Boy, look at that view. Wouldn’t that make a great condo?’ You could have the best hotels in the world right there. Think of it from a real-estate perspective.”
It is possible that the deal I just made was a mistake. If that proves to be the case, I will lie and pretend that it wasn’t.
“I think he’s going to do these things,” Trump said. “I may be wrong … I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.”
You can tell that the North Korean people love Kim Jong-un by how enthusiastically they demonstrate their support for him in state-mandated rituals.
“His country does love him,” Trump told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor. They’re gonna put it together, and I think they’re going to end up with a very strong country, and a country which has people — that they’re so hard working, so industrious.”
You can tell that Kim Jong-un is talented because he consolidated power by having many members of his family murdered when he was only a young man.
“He is very talented. Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age, and is able to run it and run it tough, I don’t say it was nice or I don’t say anything about it, he ran it — very few people at that age, you can take one out of 10,000 probably couldn’t do it.”
Some of the biggest “winners” of this summit (at which the United States signaled it would give North Korea economic relief in exchange for denuclearization, regardless of its human-rights practices) were the tens of thousands of North Koreans imprisoned in labor camps.
Asked about those trapped in Kim’s “network of gulags,” Trump replied, “At a certain point I believe he is going to do things about it. I think they are one of the great winners today. That large group of people that you are talking about. I think they will be one of the great winners as a group.”