Twice in the past week, Donald Trump publicly insisted that he knows whether North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is alive or dead, and that he doesn’t want to tell us yet. Of course no one believed Trump, because he lies all the time, even when he’d be better off telling the truth.
Then yesterday North Korean state-run media announced that Kim Jong Un was supposedly touring a fertilizer factory. Of course this was met with a great deal of skepticism as well. The “new” photos published of Kim at the factory could easily be from an earlier event. And why would Kim have chosen something as inglorious as a fertilizer factory of all things for his long awaited return to public life? It’s not remotely his style.
But even as various major American news outlets have said they couldn’t verify whether the photos of Kim were legitimate, Donald Trump tweeted this today:
I, for one, am glad to see he is back, and well! https://t.co/mIWVeRMnOJ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 2, 2020
Donald Trump is clearly asserting that Kim Jong Un is alive and well, and that these photos are current. But it’s not at all clear whether Trump is basing this on some U.S. intelligence community brief he’s been given, or if Trump is merely choosing to take North Korean state-run media at its word. If anything, Trump just made the whole thing even more uncertain.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report