Trump and Bolton shocked by bellicose rhetoric

How the beautiful friendship between Kim and Trump fell apart so sudden-like:

Inside the White House residence, the first alarm sounded about 10 p.m. Wednesday when national security adviser John Bolton told Trump about North Korea’s public statement threatening a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown” and mocking Vice President Pence as a “political dummy.”

Trump was dismayed by Pyongyang’s bellicose rhetoric, the same theatrics Trump often deploys against his adversaries. Bolton advised that the threatening language was a very bad sign, and the president told advisers he was concerned Kim was maneuvering to back out of the summit and make Americans look like desperate suitors, according to a person familiar with the conversations.

Trump was “dismayed” that an adversary is as big an asshole as he is. He does that a lot. He insults people and squeals in outrage if they insult him back.

As dawn broke Thursday, senior U.S. officials congregated in the West Wing, and by 7 a.m., they were discussing options over the phone with Trump, who was still in his private chambers. The president arrived at a swift decision to cancel the summit.

A cadre of advisers — including Bolton, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, vice presidential Chief of Staff Nick Ayers, Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin and deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel — scurried between Ayers’s, Kelly’s and Bolton’s offices, finalizing their plan to break Trump’s news.

Trump dictated a stern yet wistful personal letter to Kim blaming him for “the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement.”

Hah – I knew he’d dictated it. Nobody else would dare to make it that stupid.

The note bore Trumpian hallmarks, including flattering the recipient (he addressed a dictator who has kidnapped Americans and killed his own citizens as “His Excellency”) and boasting about the size of his arsenal.

Plus the absurd drivel about the lovely relationship they’d been building up, and don’t hesitate to call or write. Pure Trump.

Trump made his announcement while several American journalists were in North Korea at the invitation of Kim’s government to witness the apparent destruction of a nuclear test site. In 2009, North Korean soldiers detained two American journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, who were charged with illegal entry and held prisoner for five months.

CNN correspondent Will Ripley, who was reporting from the test site this week, recalled being the one to read Trump’s letter to North Korean officials.

“There was just a real sense of shock,” Ripley reported Thursday. “Immediately they got up and left and are now on the phone kind of relaying the news up to the top.”

The moment, Ripley added, was “very awkward and uncomfortable.”

Not to mention terrifying.

Trump suspected that Chinese President Xi Jinping may have had something to do with Kim’s turnabout, musing this week about their meeting this month.

“When Kim Jong Un had the meeting with President Xi, in China, the second meeting . . . I think there was a little change in attitude from Kim Jong Un,” Trump said Tuesday, with Moon at his side. “I don’t like that. I don’t like it from the standpoint of China. Now, I hope that’s not true, because I have a great relationship with President Xi. He’s a friend of mine. He likes me. I like him.”

There it is again – that childish burbling about their “friendship.” There is no friendship; this isn’t summer camp. Xi doesn’t love Donnie and he doesn’t care about his beautiful chocolate cake.

Evelyn Farkas, a former Obama administration national security official who has worked on North Korea issues, said Trump was naive.

“He fails to understand that while he might have a good rapport with a head of state, that head of state will act based on his national interests and not based on his personal feelings,” Farkas said.

So not so much naive as childishly idiotic and credulous.

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