Samantha Vinograd made it clear Trump is not going to have an easy time of talking to the North Koreans.
Trump has accepted an invitation to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. But serious doubts linger that anything good will come from such a meeting — a concern that former Obama administration official Samantha Vinograd made clear on CNN Thursday night.
“We would spend months preparing for the most basic meetings President Obama used to have,” Vinograd told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “Talk to your intelligence community. Talk to your diplomats. There is no way that President Trump can be ready by May to have a high-stakes negotiation on denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. It’s just impossible.”
“So we’re looking at a scenario now where the president, perhaps because he wants a PR opportunity, perhaps because he’s desperate to do a deal, is going to be rushing into a nuclear negotiation, and guess what? You can’t wing it.”
Furthermore, Vinograd noted, the problem is not just that Trump is going to be unprepared — it’s that his counterpart will be prepared.
“Kim Jong Un is going to be fully prepared,” she warned. “I think he’s playing to the president’s ego and the president’s weaknesses, by flattering him and by inviting him to Pyongyang … he’s going to be going in unprepared, and he’s going to be giving to Kim what Kim wants, which is a positive photo op.”
If anyone hopes that Trump will enter these negotiations prepared, consider how ill-prepared he was for just the announcement that he had agreed to these talks.
Trump did not inform or seek counsel of any major White House officials up until the moment he made the announcement — not even Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Nor did Trump prepare a statement on the development until after the South Korean National Security Adviser had made the announcement on the White House lawn — an announcement, incidentally, that Trump ought to have made himself.
It is certainly preferable for Trump to want to go into talks with a rogue state than to mock its leader as “Little Rocket Man” on Twitter. However, he needs to know what he’s doing to act in the best interest of our country — and every sign so far indicates he does not.