The art of the disastrous deal


Throughout his career in the private sector, Donald Trump never once negotiated a favorable deal in his life. Instead he identified suckers, offered them deals that were too good to be true, and then used those deals to steal their money. Now that Trump is (illegitimately) in office, he’s finding out the hard way that there aren’t that many world leaders who are wide eyed suckers. Even as he’s forced to try to learn how to legitimately negotiate deals, he has another problem. Just ask Kim Jong Un.

Donald Trump is historically unpopular. He’s totally lacking any popular accomplishments. He’s besieged by so many criminal scandals it’s difficult to keep track of them all. He’s more likely to finish his current term in prison than in the White House. He’s desperate for a win, or even a perceived win, in the hope that a political victory might slightly dampen the nation’s demand for his ouster. It’s why he bet so heavily on pulling something off with Kim Jong Un. It’s also why Trump is losing that bet.


Kim Jong Un is crazy, evil, you name it, the guy’s a monster. But he’s proven himself to be just bright enough, and just restrained enough, to survive in power this long even though most of the world wants him gone. He’s figured out that because Trump is in such a weak and desperate position, Kim has all the leverage. It’s why Kim announced out of nowhere yesterday that he was canceling his meeting with South Korea, and that he was considering canceling his meeting with Trump. And why not?

This places Donald Trump in the position of having to come crawling to Kim Jong Un, begging him to go through with the meeting, and having to offer to give away even more in any deal. After all, Trump needs this meeting and Kim doesn’t, so Kim is taking advantage of Trump’s weakness by twisting the knife. It feels like Kim has read Art of the Deal. We know Trump has certainly never read it.

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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report

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