This moment perfectly illustrated the absurdity of Trump's decision to violate the Iran nuclear deal.
While announcing his decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, Trump claimed he was demonstrating the trustworthiness of the United States.
During his speech at the White House Tuesday afternoon, Trump also announced that his administration was imposing sanctions on Iran that had been waived as part of the agreement.
“Today’s action sends a critical message: The United States no longer makes empty threats,” he said after detailing those actions.
“When I make promises, I keep them,” he continued. “In fact, at this very moment, Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo is on his way to North Korea in preparation for my upcoming meeting with Kim Jong Un. Plans are being made, relationships are building.”
He added that “with the help of China, South Korea, and Japan, a future of great prosperity and security can be achieved for everyone.”
But those declarations ring hollow coming on the heels of the withdrawal announcement.
As President Obama, who brokered the historic deal, noted immediately following Trump’s speech, “The consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America’s credibility.”
Yet while Trump was in the middle of breaking a multilateral nuclear agreement that the other parties were all complying with, he promised to bring “prosperity and security” to North and South Korea with a multilateral nuclear deal.
And the possibility of the U.S. pulling out of any potential North Korea deal must already be on Kim Jong Un’s mind. Newly appointed national security adviser John Bolton was instrumental in doing just that during the George W. Bush administration.
And Trump’s own North Korea policy was a reckless mess before all of this, thanks to his various Twitter threats.
But it was particularly strange for Trump to stake his claim to trustworthiness on the fact that he is violating exactly the sort of deal he expects North Korea to enter into.