The Trump administration wants Trump to be declared a genius of diplomacy because he scheduled a meeting with North Korea.
The Trump administration is declaring that merely meeting with North Korean dicator Kim Jong Un is a success, ignoring Trump's repeated diplomatic fumbles and the regime's continued nuclear ambitions.
Meanwhile, behind closed doors, Trump insiders are panicked that he will again be diplomatically outsmarted.
"We're making progress," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told the administration's friends at Fox News.
She whined and complained that when it comes to negotiating with North Korea, "the only ones setting high expectations is probably the media" because "they're looking for reasons to attack this president."
Attacking the press has been the Trump team's go-to when they have been confronted with his repeated leadership failures.
"He's had a great success here in the fact that they were able to sit down at the table, the fact he's able to do it again, is in itself a big success," Sanders concluded.
Since the nation's founding, American presidents have met with hundreds — perhaps thousands — of world leaders. Simply meeting with Kim is not a "success" by any measure.
Trump's senior advisers know this, and that is why they are worried about the summit and what he could give away.
Politico reports that Trump's top advisers "worry" that while Trump is "eager to declare victory on the world stage," he "could make big concessions in exchange for empty promises of denuclearization."
Trump reportedly bragged in a phone call with South Korean President Moon Jae-in that "he is the only person who can make progress on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula."
That confidence is not shared by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who Politico reports has "expressed frustration to allies about the lack of diplomatic progress and voiced concern that his boss will get outmaneuvered."
There's ample reason to be concerned, because it has happened already.
Trump went into his last summit with North Korea completely unprepared, already making a major concession to the rogue regime by meeting them as diplomatic equals. Once engaged, Trump bumbled around in full view of the entire world, saluting North Korea's abusive military, glad-handing with Kim, and ignoring human rights abuses.
Trump went on to abandon joint military exercises with America's close ally, South Korea, a concession to the North, while receiving nothing in exchange. Trump then proclaimed that North Korea had denuclearized, while in fact they continue to pursue nuclear weapons and the technology to use those weapons against other nations — including America.
Congress recently called out Trump for his diplomatic misfires and his insistence on keeping his dealings with the regime a secret, without allowing America's elected leaders to engage in oversight of his actions as the Constitution empowers them to do.
Trump has failed America on North Korea and has set himself up to fail yet again, endangering the world. With that backdrop, the White House wants Trump to get credit for international diplomacy.
Because he had a meeting.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.