Trump Officials Struggle To Defend Trump Taking Kim Jong Un’s Word

Two of Trump’s top foreign policy officials involved in talks with Kim Jong Un — National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — have stumbled trying to defend Trump’s failed summit and his defense of Kim over American Otto Warmbier’s death.


On CNN, Bolton was pressed if he agreed with Trump that Kim didn’t know about Warmbier’s fatal injuries, only to say that “my opinion doesn’t matter.”


CNN: “Bolton was also asked if he takes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at his word that he didn’t know of Warmbier’s suspected torture. ‘The President takes him (Kim) at his word,’ Bolton told Tapper. Pushed again, Bolton replied, ‘My opinion doesn’t matter.’”


On CBS, Bolton refused to say whether he agreed Trump gave nothing away in meeting with Kim Jong Un for a second time, asserting that “my view” of the summit didn’t matter against Trump’s.

CBS News: “The president’s view is he gave nothing away. That’s- that’s what matters, not my view. As I’ve said before, I guess I can’t get people to listen so I’ll try it one more time, I’m the national security advisor. I’m not the national security decision maker.”


In a USA Today interview, Pompeo was pressed about Kim’s personal responsibility and whether he knew about Warmbier’s case. Pompeo refused to answer and instead “fell silent,” claiming he had already answered the question.


USA Today: “Pressed about Kim’s personal responsibility and whether Kim knew about Warmbier’s case, Pompeo fell silent again before saying he had answered the question and been ‘very patient’ with that line of inquiry.”