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Washington - Made-for-TV Summit Puts Trump The Showman In Spotlight

Published on: June 13, 2018 09:20 AM
By: AP
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North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands at the conclusion of their meetings at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island Tuesday, June 12, 2018 in Singapore. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands at the conclusion of their meetings at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island Tuesday, June 12, 2018 in Singapore. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

Washington - From the staged handshake before a watching world, to the debut of an infomercial about an imagined North Korea, the summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un was a made-for-the-cameras production.

While the Singapore sit-down at a luxury resort purported to be a serious conversation about a rising nuclear standoff, it was as much an opportunity for two decidedly unorthodox leaders to put on a show. From its start, the men embraced the power of the image over the substance, both keenly aware that the eyes of the world were fixated right where they’d intended: on them.

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Each moment of the high-stakes summit at a luxury resort on a Singapore island appeared designed for the cameras. Just after its start, both men walked toward each other from opposite ends of a colonnade, pausing before a row of alternating U.S. and North Korean flags for a lengthy handshake as cameras flashed and video and photos were beamed around the world.

The image alone had deep, historic import, and surreal quality that even the leaders couldn’t ignore. “I think the entire world is watching this moment,” Kim said through an interpreter, comparing it to fantasy and a “science fiction movie.”

Others thought of a different genre.

“There’s no question this was a television production,” said Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. “Its major purpose was to be a television production.”

For Trump, the reality television star turned surprise commander in chief, it was a chance to show off his deal-making skills on a global stage to a skeptical world. To Kim, an autocratic leader reviled by most of the international community, it represented a play for international legitimacy though a public greeting with the leader of the free world.

Both were aware that the once-unthinkable meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader was a media blockbuster, drawing journalists from around the world, international viewers and mobs of cellphone-waving onlookers in the Asian city-state chosen for their sit-down. The buildup was filled with cliffhangers, from the name-calling to Trump’s first shocking announcement they would meet, to its sudden cancellation and resurrection.

Historians were quick to point out the joint statement the two leaders signed was actually far less detailed than those struck with North Korea in the past, the same ones that Trump has repeatedly derided for ending in failure and perpetuating the nuclear threat.

North Korean security gather around a small screen at the St Regis hotel in Singapore to watch their leader Kim Jong Un meet U.S. President Donald Trump, June 12, 2018. Picture taken June 12, 2018.   REUTERS/John GeddieNorth Korean security gather around a small screen at the St Regis hotel in Singapore to watch their leader Kim Jong Un meet U.S. President Donald Trump, June 12, 2018. Picture taken June 12, 2018.  REUTERS/John Geddie

Trump immediately sold the deal — on television. He appeared before hundreds of journalists at a news conference, the sort of free-wheeling media session that he’s determinedly avoided for most of his presidency. It wasn’t a surprise that he took his message to unabashed supporter Sean Hannity for a Fox News Channel interview, but he also sat down with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos for his first interview with a broadcast network in more than a year.

Stressing that he had tried to pitch Kim on possible economic gains, Trump played for reporters a video depicting a utopian North Korea-of the-future, where speedboats glide alongside opulent, modern skyscrapers. Then he disclosed that he’d screened the film, produced for the occasion, for Kim.

“That was a tape that we gave to Chairman Kim and his people, his representatives. And it captures a lot. It captures what could be done,” Trump said Tuesday.

Proving he was a worthy foil, Kim stole the show from Trump on Monday night. The autocrat left his hotel and took a tour of some popular night spots, surrounded by a horde of security officials and breathlessly carried on live television, with people watching a leader who rarely leaves his home, much less goes out in public.

Before leaving Singapore, Trump suggested a sequel as he talked about hosting Kim at the White House.

He told ABC in an interview, “I would love to have him at the White House, whatever it takes. And I would love to have him at the White House and I think he’d love to be there. And at a certain point, when it’s all complete, I’d love to” go to North Korea, he said.



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Read Comments (16)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 13, 2018 at 09:31 AM Nachum Says:

This silly article minimized the serious nature of the summit. If meeting with that dictator with all the associated glitz can save millions of lives, by avoiding a nuclear war, then I'm all for the hoopla of the summit. The oddest thing was that only a few months ago, Trump's enemies in the media were accusing him of being a warmonger, and not using diplomacy. Now that he is using diplomacy, they still won't give an inch, and give him credit. These are the same arm chair pundits, who are criticizing him for cancelling the war games. Mind you, the vast majority of them never served one day in the armed forces of the USA, yet they want our troops on the ground, participating in war games, which can provoke N. Korea, and trigger a large ground war, from which there will be no winners.

2

 Jun 13, 2018 at 10:01 AM Normal Says:

#1 Agree. Critics are now saying that Trump is praising Kim who kills his own people etc. If you can save lives by lying then so what? If he can save lives and billions of dollars I wouldn't care if Trump ran around nude making chicken noises. So what. The iker is to get the nukes out of NK. Nothing else.

3

 Jun 13, 2018 at 10:02 AM yonasonw Says:

Reply to #1  
Nachum Says:

This silly article minimized the serious nature of the summit. If meeting with that dictator with all the associated glitz can save millions of lives, by avoiding a nuclear war, then I'm all for the hoopla of the summit. The oddest thing was that only a few months ago, Trump's enemies in the media were accusing him of being a warmonger, and not using diplomacy. Now that he is using diplomacy, they still won't give an inch, and give him credit. These are the same arm chair pundits, who are criticizing him for cancelling the war games. Mind you, the vast majority of them never served one day in the armed forces of the USA, yet they want our troops on the ground, participating in war games, which can provoke N. Korea, and trigger a large ground war, from which there will be no winners.

You can't read?

"...From its start, the men embraced the power of the image over the substance...[h]istorians were quick to point out the joint statement the two leaders signed was actually far less detailed than those struck with North Korea in the past, the same ones that Trump has repeatedly derided for ending in failure and perpetuating the nuclear threat..."

Try addressing the substantive issue, rather than merely regurgitating canned, unsupported Trumponian conclusions.

4

 Jun 13, 2018 at 10:45 AM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #1  
Nachum Says:

This silly article minimized the serious nature of the summit. If meeting with that dictator with all the associated glitz can save millions of lives, by avoiding a nuclear war, then I'm all for the hoopla of the summit. The oddest thing was that only a few months ago, Trump's enemies in the media were accusing him of being a warmonger, and not using diplomacy. Now that he is using diplomacy, they still won't give an inch, and give him credit. These are the same arm chair pundits, who are criticizing him for cancelling the war games. Mind you, the vast majority of them never served one day in the armed forces of the USA, yet they want our troops on the ground, participating in war games, which can provoke N. Korea, and trigger a large ground war, from which there will be no winners.

Beautifully said.

Great Comment ! Two thumbs up

5

 Jun 13, 2018 at 11:23 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Nachum Says:

This silly article minimized the serious nature of the summit. If meeting with that dictator with all the associated glitz can save millions of lives, by avoiding a nuclear war, then I'm all for the hoopla of the summit. The oddest thing was that only a few months ago, Trump's enemies in the media were accusing him of being a warmonger, and not using diplomacy. Now that he is using diplomacy, they still won't give an inch, and give him credit. These are the same arm chair pundits, who are criticizing him for cancelling the war games. Mind you, the vast majority of them never served one day in the armed forces of the USA, yet they want our troops on the ground, participating in war games, which can provoke N. Korea, and trigger a large ground war, from which there will be no winners.

Spot on. Trump critics are the same as Israel critics. No matter what Trump and Israel do, they criticize.

6

 Jun 13, 2018 at 12:56 PM yonasonw Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

Spot on. Trump critics are the same as Israel critics. No matter what Trump and Israel do, they criticize.

This is for you, Oh So Uneducated Archy and all the rest of the Hail Trump, Trumpland Uber Alles populist lemmings.

Republicans too are having issues with Trump's great success:…Tribune Washington Bureau:

“But Trump's seemingly off-hand remarks, without warning to allies South Korea and Japan, marked a potentially sharp shift in U.S. defense posture in East Asia and contradicted decades of statements by American officials that the exercises are defensive only and critical for deterring North Korea.

“Further unsettling foreign allies and EVEN REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS, the president echoed North Korea's own pejorative phrases in announcing suspension of the joint exercises with South Korea. Trump said he had agreed to stop the "war games" because they are "very provocative," terms used by North Korea in denouncing the drills, adding that it would save the United States "a tremendous amount of money." (emphasis added)

You people truly represent a greater concentration of arrogant, uneducated populist ignorance than I have ever encountered in one place in this country...virtually a dictator's hoard with yarmulkas..."good Germans" all.

7

 Jun 13, 2018 at 04:03 PM Hakohen Says:

Yonason, you are outnumbered on this site. I did not vote for Trump, but I support what he did with N. Korea. However, the most despicable comments which you always write on this site, is using Nazi language, in German, and calling us "good Germans". Why don't you just dry up, once and for all?

8

 Jun 13, 2018 at 04:06 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #6  
yonasonw Says:

This is for you, Oh So Uneducated Archy and all the rest of the Hail Trump, Trumpland Uber Alles populist lemmings.

Republicans too are having issues with Trump's great success:…Tribune Washington Bureau:

“But Trump's seemingly off-hand remarks, without warning to allies South Korea and Japan, marked a potentially sharp shift in U.S. defense posture in East Asia and contradicted decades of statements by American officials that the exercises are defensive only and critical for deterring North Korea.

“Further unsettling foreign allies and EVEN REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS, the president echoed North Korea's own pejorative phrases in announcing suspension of the joint exercises with South Korea. Trump said he had agreed to stop the "war games" because they are "very provocative," terms used by North Korea in denouncing the drills, adding that it would save the United States "a tremendous amount of money." (emphasis added)

You people truly represent a greater concentration of arrogant, uneducated populist ignorance than I have ever encountered in one place in this country...virtually a dictator's hoard with yarmulkas..."good Germans" all.

what's with your Germany Obsession?

That Trump's tweets get people nervous is nothing new. Trump is radical and a dsiruptor of status quo. Furthermore, copying and pasting BS that's exaggerated doesn't make it necessarily true. People are hyper at the moment.

9

 Jun 13, 2018 at 04:04 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #3  
yonasonw Says:

You can't read?

"...From its start, the men embraced the power of the image over the substance...[h]istorians were quick to point out the joint statement the two leaders signed was actually far less detailed than those struck with North Korea in the past, the same ones that Trump has repeatedly derided for ending in failure and perpetuating the nuclear threat..."

Try addressing the substantive issue, rather than merely regurgitating canned, unsupported Trumponian conclusions.

It was addressed on NPR yesterday. Tune in to the BL show.

Real concessions were granted to us. We gave up nothing.

10

 Jun 13, 2018 at 08:16 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Nachum Says:

This silly article minimized the serious nature of the summit. If meeting with that dictator with all the associated glitz can save millions of lives, by avoiding a nuclear war, then I'm all for the hoopla of the summit. The oddest thing was that only a few months ago, Trump's enemies in the media were accusing him of being a warmonger, and not using diplomacy. Now that he is using diplomacy, they still won't give an inch, and give him credit. These are the same arm chair pundits, who are criticizing him for cancelling the war games. Mind you, the vast majority of them never served one day in the armed forces of the USA, yet they want our troops on the ground, participating in war games, which can provoke N. Korea, and trigger a large ground war, from which there will be no winners.

The mainstream media has sunk to a new low! They are trying to make a farce out of this tremendous and historic achievement by the president, ONLY because its Pres. Trump! Had this happened with Obama instead, you can be sure they’d be handing him a second leave prize, praising him to the sky and covering it in a very, very different way. What an embarrassment the liberal press has become, and it’s no wonder their followers are gullible, low intelligence libtards.

11

 Jun 13, 2018 at 08:17 PM Poor baby Says:

Reply to #3  
yonasonw Says:

You can't read?

"...From its start, the men embraced the power of the image over the substance...[h]istorians were quick to point out the joint statement the two leaders signed was actually far less detailed than those struck with North Korea in the past, the same ones that Trump has repeatedly derided for ending in failure and perpetuating the nuclear threat..."

Try addressing the substantive issue, rather than merely regurgitating canned, unsupported Trumponian conclusions.

Keep imploding, snowflake. Your black idol is freaking out as much as you, at how great this
PResident is!!!!

12

 Jun 13, 2018 at 08:20 PM Yoni implodes Says:

Reply to #7  
Hakohen Says:

Yonason, you are outnumbered on this site. I did not vote for Trump, but I support what he did with N. Korea. However, the most despicable comments which you always write on this site, is using Nazi language, in German, and calling us "good Germans". Why don't you just dry up, once and for all?

Don’t worry about Yoni, he’s sick with anger at the tremendous successes of Trump! He goes searching for left wing propaganda nonsense to cite because he’s so desperate to console himself! If anyone needed play doh therapy for Trump derangement syndrome, it’s him (and his other screen names].

13

 Jun 13, 2018 at 08:27 PM Anon1 Says:

Reply to #7  
Hakohen Says:

Yonason, you are outnumbered on this site. I did not vote for Trump, but I support what he did with N. Korea. However, the most despicable comments which you always write on this site, is using Nazi language, in German, and calling us "good Germans". Why don't you just dry up, once and for all?

Being outnumbered doesn't mean being wrong. The orange Yutz has no clothes.

14

 Jun 13, 2018 at 09:49 PM PaulinSaudi Says:

I hope something good comes of all this. We will see, I suppose.

15

 Jun 14, 2018 at 08:08 AM Anonymous Says:

To #13- Your Mother should have washed your filthy mouth out with soap!

16

 Jun 14, 2018 at 10:03 AM yonasonw Says:

Reply to #8  
Educated Archy Says:

what's with your Germany Obsession?

That Trump's tweets get people nervous is nothing new. Trump is radical and a dsiruptor of status quo. Furthermore, copying and pasting BS that's exaggerated doesn't make it necessarily true. People are hyper at the moment.

I'll tell you what...the behaviors of many Trump populists are alarmingly similar to populists who followed many leaders before Trump:

Neither facts nor science matter; vilifying the press and anyone who disagrees with "the leader;" denigrating education; equating patriotism with support of "the leader;" using government law enforcement to target opponents; stoking among supporters a feeling of victimization at the hands of "them" ("they" took away your jobs...not macro economic changes); promising the impossible (bringing back coal); lying repeatedly, and using the "big lie" principles enunciated in Mein Kampf (the entire tariff nonsense...and calling Canada a security threat); promoting racism and intolerance with a wink (comments on David Duke, the KKK and Charlottesville); giving government jobs to family members clearly unprepared professionally for their positions; ignoring or excusing misconduct of political allies (Pruitt); destroying treaty alliances with long-standing friends; etc...

Jews should know better. Most do, but you guys are little more than hard ight wing rabble in yarmulkas. VIN has become mostly a white supremacist website in Jewish drag.

17

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