Last week various major media outlets around the world began reporting that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was either severely ill, braindead, or dead. The alarming and conflicting reports – none of them ever fully confirmed – created a mess of confusion. This resulted in Donald Trump being asked about it during a press briefing several days ago.
At the time, Trump claimed that he definitely knew what was going on with Kim Jong Un behind the scenes, and that it would come out soon. Since that time, nothing has come of it. So Trump was asked about Kim again today. His answer: “I just can’t talk about Kim Jong-un right now. I just hope everything is going to be fine. I do understand the situation very well.”
In other words, Trump has no idea what’s going on with Kim Jong Un. He didn’t last week, and he doesn’t now. It’s fine that he doesn’t know; if the U.S. doesn’t have the intel then so be it. But Trump could easily have just said last week that he wasn’t going to answer the question. Instead he had to make up a story about how he secretly knew what was going on. Now that story is falling apart.
We have no idea what’s going on with Kim Jong Un, beyond the logical reality that when a world leader is being widely accused of being dead, that world leader generally tries to jump in front of the cameras as soon as possible. Kim’s ongoing absence suggests that something is very wrong: he’s seriously physically ill, or he’s completely snapped, or he’s been ousted. We’ll all find out eventually. But Trump’s claim that he knew what was going on has turned out to be yet another pointless lie.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report