Tracking Trump: president tries his best to befriend Kim Jong-un
Trump bemoans his inability to buddy up to the North Korean leader, as his son and son-in-law face more trouble in the Russia inquiry
Do you remember coming home from school to tell your mother or father another kid had been nasty to you in the playground? And all you wanted was to be his friend?
Then spare a thought for Donald Trump, who was going through the same troubles with a moody young pal from North Korea as his tour of Asia came to an end last weekend.
“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old’, when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’” Trump asked his mommy – I mean, his 42.9 million Twitter followers. “Oh well,” he added poignantly, “I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!”
Poor Donald. Maybe get some sleep. This has been a long trip and you’ve had to deal with some difficult geopolitical issues. Things never seem quite as bad in the morning. I’m sure Kim just wants to be your friend, too. He has a funny way of showing it, that’s all.
Another friendship was proving tricky for Trump, too. Do you remember at school when all of your friends picked on one of your schoolmates and blamed them for something – say, trying to influence a foreign election using an army of bots and leaked emails – and you were the only one who believed they didn’t do it?
“Every time he sees me he says ‘I didn’t do that’ and I really believe that when he tells me that,” Trump said of Vladimir Putin. “He really seems to be insulted by it and he says he didn’t do it.”
But the other friends didn’t want to listen.
While Trump was rounding out his 12-day trip with a visit to another blood brother, Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, back home the scandal involving the Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore deepened, with a new woman coming forward to claim the controversial former judge sexually assaulted her when she was 16. (Moore denies the accusations.)
A spokeswoman for Trump – who has himself been accused of sexual misconduct or assault by numerous women – said Moore should step aside if the allegations were proven to be true, and over the weekend the president claimed he did not know a lot about the case because he did “not watch much television”. Regular readers of Trump’s Twitter feed – which on Wednesday included a complaint about having been forced to watch CNN while in the Philippines and which frequently contains free advertising for Fox News – might find that hard to believe.
Oh, and it emerged that Trump’s son Donald Jr, the son who met a Russian lawyer last June in an attempt to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, had exchanged direct messages with WikiLeaks before the US election, and promoted a link to the group’s tool to search through hacked Clinton emails after WikiLeaks sent it to him.
On Tuesday, Trump had had enough of his gruelling trip across Asia and cut it short after his final engagement, the East Asia Summit, was delayed by about two hours. He also missed a group photo with the other leaders. You snooze, you lose.
Oh, and in Congress, the US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, acknowledged that a former Trump campaign aide had informed him during the 2016 election about ties to Russian officials, appearing to contradict his own previous testimony.
On Wednesday, Trump announced with evident relief: “Just returned from Asia after 12 very successful days. Great to be home!”
But there was bad news waiting for him. After all his attempts to buddy up with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader had gone and sentenced him to death. Talk about being ungrateful.
And talking about being ungrateful, Trump had a feeling that the UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting in China wouldn’t thank him for his efforts to free them. But they did in fact thank him.
While Trump had kept his comments about Moore to a minimum, when a woman accused the Democratic senator and former comedian Al Franken of sexual misconduct the president was less restrained.
“The Al Frankenstien [sic] picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps? .....” he tweeted, seeming to drift off dangerously into the realms of fantasy, probably not a good idea for someone who, as mentioned above, has been accused of sexual assault and has boasted of grabbing women’s genitals.
Oh, and it emerged that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, shared emails within Donald Trump’s team about WikiLeaks and a “backdoor overture” from Russia during the election campaign and failed to turn them over to investigators. He was there at that meeting with the Russian lawyer and Don Jr, too.
On Friday, Trump’s feud with much of the sporting world continued, as the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team, who captured their first national championship at the Women’s Final Four in April, declined an invitation to visit the White House. Oh well, he tried so hard to be their friend – and maybe someday that will happen!