Donald Trump was greeted in South Korea by a wave of protesters who don’t want him in their country, don’t want him meddling in their already-difficult relations with North Korea, and don’t want him to be President of the United States. That was, after all, to be expected; Trump is toxically unpopular in most parts of the world. But the protests have turned out to be one of the least bad things about Trump’s visit to South Korea, which has turned into an unmitigated disaster.
According to an on-air report from NBC News correspondent Richard Engel, the Trump administration insisted ahead of time that Trump would not be visiting the Demilitarized Zone, which Engel interpreted as a sign that Trump probably would do it. Sure enough, the Trump administration ended up announcing that Trump tried to visit the DMZ, but ended up having to cancel due to weather problems. Unless Trump’s team is too incompetent to have checked the weather report before planning the trip, this is just cover for some kind of chaos behind the scenes. Then it became clear just how chaotic things were getting.
Fifteen minutes after Trump’s speech to the South Korean National Assembly was supposed to begin, Rachel Maddow reported on-air on MSNBC that according to the Trump administration, Donald Trump was still backstage working on his speech. If this is true, then it means Trump and his team have become so discombobulated that they were still working on a speech after it was already supposed to have begun. But just moments earlier, the Virginia race for Governor was decisively called for Democratic candidate Ralph Northam, a devastating blow to Trump and his preferred candidate. So it seems more likely that Trump was simply backstage pouting and refusing to take the stage.
Eventually, Donald Trump made his way to the podium. His speech is still getting underway. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether he’ll end up saying something that makes things even worse. But based on the chaotic and embarrassing manner in which his South Korea visit is unfolding, it’s already a disaster.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report