North Korea is an authoritarian regime that has been mired in a cult of personality spanning several decades and three generations. It's a powder keg in Asia, and now that it is testing nuclear weapons, could pose a threat to American allies in the region. But, according to President Donald Trump, it's ripe for American intervention.
Trump told the Financial Times in an interview published Sunday that he's willing to go it alone in North Korea, saying that he "totally" thinks he can solve it "without China's help."
Trump said that he'll get China to help him solve the North Korean crisis with "trade": "I think trade is the incentive. It is all about trade." Two questions later, he told the Financial Times that the American trade situation with China is "an unfair deal" — so he's already starting on the wrong foot.
I don’t want to talk about tariffs yet, perhaps the next time we meet. So I don’t want to talk about tariffs yet. But you used the word equalise. That is a very good word because they are not equalised. If you used a word other than tariff, it is not an equal. You know when you talk about, when you talk about currency manipulation, when you talk about devaluations, they are world champions. And our country hasn’t had a clue, they haven’t had a clue. The past administration hasn’t had and many administrations — I don’t want to say only Obama; this has gone on for many years — they haven’t had a clue. But I do.
"Alliances have not always worked out very well for us," Trump also said, not mentioning which alliances are not working out and in which way.
But the biggest whopper from Trump came on the subject of the American Health Care Act's defeat: "I didn’t want to take a vote. It was my idea. I said why should I take a vote."
Here's why that's not true. The White House had been pushing for a vote up until House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill — after there was no support for it. Here's a report from March 24, from Fox News:
Trump issued lawmakers an ultimatum Thurday night. He wants the House to vote Friday on the legislation to begin dismantling ObamaCare and if it fails, he is "done with health care,” and ready to move on to tax reform, a source told Fox News.
"My understanding is he’s going to get it," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on "The O'Reilly Factor."
"It’s going to pass. That’s it," [Spicer] said at his daily press briefing.
Trump also told the Financial Times that he doesn't "regret anything," including his tweets, because without his tweets "I wouldn't be here."
"You know if you issue hundreds of tweets, and every once in a while you have a clinker, that’s not so bad. Now my last tweet, you know the one that you are talking about perhaps, was the one about being in quotes wire tapped, meaning surveilled. Guess what, it is turning out to be true . . . I predicted Brexit."
Lastly, Trump delivered what may have been an ominous message about the French election, where he said "some outside things have happened that maybe will change the course of that race." Right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen has been an ally in politics to Trump as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been getting involved in American and European political races.
Read the full interview — thankfully edited for coherent thoughts — here.