Trump's eagerness to deal with Kim Jong Un is rubbing off on his best friends at Fox News.
A Fox News host who was once considered for a Cabinet position is now defending Kim Jong Un, and saying that the dictator is somehow reluctantly compelled to murder his own people.
On Wednesday morning's edition of "Fox & Friends," co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked fellow Fox host and Trump confidant Pete Hegseth, "Why do you think he agreed to this meeting, Kim Jong Un?"
"I think he wants a picture with the American President," Hegseth said, adding, "The sanctions are having a massive effect there. The Chinese have put the screws to him on that."
"And then, I think there's probably a point at which the guy who wants to meet with Dennis Rodman and loves NBA basketball and loves western pop culture, probably doesn't love being the guy that has to murder his people all day long," Hegseth said. "Probably wants some normalization, and let's give it to him if we can make the world safer."
Hegseth's characterization of Kim Jong Un's brutality as both reluctant and somehow compulsory is disturbing, even for a guy who recently made light of the killings of women and children in Gaza.
But Hegseth's defense of Kim illustrates some serious problems with Trump's diplomatic efforts with North Korea. Trump has already given Kim a series of unprecedented propaganda victories, by legitimizing Kim with unprecedented official visits by a sitting Cabinet member, and by agreeing to an in-person summit.
And Kim Jong Un already has something better than a picture with Trump, thanks to the White House Communications Agency's decision to release coins featuring images of Trump and "Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un."
Now the the summit — and all of the plaudits that Trump and his followers have already banked on — is in jeopardy, they are willing to do almost anything to salvage it. For Pete Hegseth, that includes defending Kim as a murderer.