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Donald Trump, North Korea, and learning to take a joke

By Scott Tibbs, June 25, 2018

Folks on the Left and Right, some of y'all are way too tightly wound and you need to lighten up. It is true that Donald Trump is shattering the norms we expect of a national leader, but you are not helping yourself by freaking out every time he tells a silly joke.

Trump was obviously joking when he said that he likes how the people of North Korea stand up and pay attention when Kim Jong Un speaks. Trump does legitimately have an authoritarian streak, but he is also prone to making jokes about it. It does not help Trump's critics when they melt down over his jokes. It makes them look unhinged, and that is not going to win you votes outside of your base.

Trump has said a number of other things that are flatly wrong about North Korea, but this is and has always been the way he operates. If he is trying to get you on his side, he uses effusive praise and hyperbolic language. Trump did an interview with Wolf Blitzer in 1999 where he basically spelled out the rhetorical strategy he would use as President with North Korea. It should not be surprising that he is doing now what he said he would do nearly twenty years ago.

That said, one of the biggest criticisms of Trump in the 2016 campaign was that he would not be presidential - that he would not treat the office with the dignity and respect it deserves. Those critics have been proven right. I have said many times that Trump should at least behave professionally, if he cannot be presidential.

Trump loves to troll the Democrats and the media by making these jokes, especially about being a supreme leader. It has worked for two years now, and they bite every single time he baits them. But the person who holds the office of President should be above such crass things. The #MAGA base might love it when Trump trolls his enemies, but it diminishes the office of the President when he behaves this way. He needs to be more disciplined, especially considering the impact his language has on the reputation of these United States.