On Saturday evening, October 20, 1973, President Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Archibald Cox, the Special Prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal. Richardson refused and resigned in protest. Nixon then turned to Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus, who also refused and resigned. Solicitor General Robert Bork then carried out Nixon’s order, only to have a court rule against it while calls for Nixon’s impeachment grew louder. This incident quickly became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre,” even though there was no bloodshed involved.
The idea that a government leader might literally commit a massacre by ordering the swift execution of officials for failing to please the boss is, thankfully, something we still find unacceptable in this country. But a disturbing new report from Reuters about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un reminds us that not all countries share our values. In February, Trump abruptly ended his second summit with Kim in Hanoi after the two demagogues could not reach an agreement on denuclearization. Kim reportedly reacted by executing his nuclear envoy as well as four foreign ministry executives following the summit failure. An unnamed source told a South Korean newspaper that the officials were killed at a Pyongyang airport within weeks of the summit, after being “accused of spying for the United States for poorly reporting on the negotiations without properly grasping U.S. intentions.”
Trump did not commit these murders, but when he fails to condemn them while heaping praise on Kim, he tacitly lends his support for the murders. After a few rounds of “Little Rocket Man vs. dotard,” Trump has been playing nice with Kim, showering the dictator with admiration while assuring us that he can be trusted. While in Japan this weekend, Trump could not care less about Kim’s new missile tests, even as his own advisers claimed they violated U.N. Security Council rules. Trump exposed the alarming degree to which he remains enamored with Kim in a single tweet: “North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?”
The fact that Trump is buddying up to a murderous dictator is not news. But this new report of lawless killings prompted by Trump’s own summit with Kim requires, for starters, a strong statement of condemnation from our government. We shouldn’t hold our breath. Ever since Trump admitted to a crowd at a West Virginia campaign rally last September that he and Kim “fell in love,” Trump has bent over backwards to avoid criticizing his long-distance paramour. It is high time that cardiologists intervene to figure out how to dislodge Cupid’s arrow from Trump’s heart. Apparently, not a single person in our government is up for that job.