North Korea released a propaganda video of Trump saluting one of the country's top generals — an extraordinary sign of respect and deference to one of the world's most repressive dictatorships.
North Korea has continued to celebrate its diplomatic rout of Trump with the release of a propaganda video that shows him saluting a general from the North Korean military.
He was immediately slammed for the deferential action by CNN's military analyst, retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, who pointed out that the commander in chief does not even salute American generals.
At one point in the video, Trump is introduced to a line of North Korean officials. When he encountered a uniformed North Korean general, Trump offered him a handshake. Instead, the official saluted Trump, who then saluted back.
On CNN, Kirby explained that the video is "striking" because it shows "the level of deference and respect" that Trump showed North Korea — and that's exactly why North Korea state TV released it.
"It was an inappropriate thing for him to do from a protocol perspective, but now he's played right into the North's propaganda about their legitimacy on the world stage," Kirby added. Instead, Trump should have simply nodded and extended his hand to shake.
"Look, he's the commander in chief," Kirby said. "He doesn't even salute his own generals. They salute him! That's the way it works. And you certainly don't do it with leaders of foreign militaries, and you certainly don't do it with the leaders of foreign militaries of an adversary nation."
Statement of Retired Major General Paul D. Eaton, a senior adviser to VoteVets who served more than 30 years in the United States Army, including combat and post-combat assignments in Iraq, Bosnia, and Somalia, also blasted Trump's salute.
"It is wholly inappropriate for the commander in chief of our armed forces to salute the military of our adversary, especially one which is responsible for a regime of terror, murder, and unspeakable horror against its own people," Eaton said. "We must talk with them, for the sake of avoiding a disastrous war. But they have not earned the salute of a president."
The bizarre show of respect echoed Trump's first international expedition where he bowed and curtsied before Saudi Arabian leaders.
North Korea is in the middle of a victory lap after the historic meeting.
It has used Trump's concessions during the meeting to fuel its propaganda machine, one of the major tools the regime has used to squelch dissent within its borders.
Trump's decision to retreat from joint military exercises with South Korea, which traditionally have been a part of nuclear deterrence in the region, was hailed by North Korea.
After refusing to prepare for the summit — he said he would rely on "my touch, my feel" — Trump also apparently has committed America to "simultaneous" action to reach denuclearization.
When asked to reveal what he agreed to on America's behalf, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lashed out at reporters and refused to level with the country.
Meanwhile, the summit has been a massive success for North Korea. The country won concessions from an unprepared American president and gained legitimacy by being treated as equals by the United States.
And now North Korea can show the world footage of the commander in chief of the United States armed forces saluting its military.
Trump has handed the North Korean regime a major victory — and he humiliated the country he's supposed to represent to do it.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.