President Donald Trump accepted North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un’s invitation for the first meeting between an American president and a North Korean leader.
A planned meeting with Kim Jong Un highlights President Donald Trump’s taste for breaking national security taboos.
When a reporter asked President Donald Trump last May whether he would ever meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump didn’t flinch. “If it would be appropriate for me to meet him, I would absolutely. I would be honored to do it,” Trump told Bloomberg News.
Boasting that he had just made “breaking news,” Trump added with pride: “Most political people would never say that.”
That paled in comparison to the breaking news Thursday night, when the White House confirmed that Trump had accepted Kim’s invitation for the first meeting between an American president and a North Korean leader.
But it spotlighted an instinct that has defined Trump’s early foreign policy: say the things others wouldn’t say; do the things they didn’t dare.
“He likes to be the first. He likes doing things no one has ever done before,” one senior Trump official said.
Trump’s taboo-breaking instinct was most recently on clear display in his December decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — a pledge several presidents had made but, on the counsel of advisers and fellow world leaders, decided to shelve.
Trump officials say that was a key factor behind the president’s thinking, something he made clear in a Dec. 6 statement from the White House: “While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver,” Trump said. “Today, I am delivering.”