Trump: You gotta give Kim Jong-un credit … as a maniac

posted at 6:51 pm on January 11, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Less here than advertised, and less than meets the eye, too. When this clip began garnering buzz yesterday on Twitter, it was made to sound as though Donald Trump was signaling his admiration for North Korea’s tinpot hereditary dictator. When viewed, however, it’s clear that Trump is warning against taking him lightly or assuming he’s just a pawn:

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump appeared to praise North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying at a rally Saturday that “it’s incredible” how he was able to dispatch his political opponents.

Trump called Jong-Un a “maniac” during remarks about North Korea’s nuclear program during a rally at Ottumwa, Iowa, but conceded, “You gotta give him credit.”

“How many young guys — he was like 26 or 25 when his father died — take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden … he goes in, he takes over, and he’s the boss,” Trump said. “It’s incredible. He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one. I mean this guy doesn’t play games. And we can’t play games with him.”

How much “praise” can this be when it’s prefaced by labeling Kim a “maniac”? The answer is: not much. Any fair estimation of this statement in total would conclude that Trump isn’t praising Kim — he’s criticizing US handling of Kim, and perhaps especially the misconception of him as a puppet.

In other words, this isn’t Trump praising Vladimir Putin as “a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond,” although ABC’s Evan McMurray draws that parallel. Nor is it Trump drawing some moral equivalence between Putin’s ruthlessness and US policy. In fact, Trump’s making the opposite point here — that Kim operates in a different paradigm than we do (and Putin too, presumably), and that we are not taking him seriously enough.

Left unsaid, though, is what Trump’s policy would be regarding Kim and North Korea. What would Trump do differently than the status quo? In this, Trump is hardly alone; most Republican candidates went on the attack after Pyongyang’s nuclear test last week, demanding a tougher policy toward the Kim regime, but they had some difficulty providing specifics as well. That is in large part due to the fact that the Clinton administration left the barn door open more than 20 years ago, and the US and its allies have had its hands tied since then. No one wants another war on the Korean peninsula, especially now — which is why the Kims pursued nuclear weapons in defiance of the “agreed framework” in the 1990s.

There isn’t much left to do except to horse-trade with China in hopes that they will use their influence to conduct a regime change and bring something akin to rational leadership in the DPRK. Maybe Trump could make the case that he could get the best deal from China, but so far there isn’t much there other than this warning to take Kim Jong-un seriously.


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Comments

How much “praise” can this be when it’s prefaced by labeling Kim a “maniac”?

A YUUUUUUUGGGEE amount. Donald Trump loves maniacs. He knows many maniacs, but of all the maniacs, he’s the best one. He loves them, and they love him. Now admittedly, he’s kind of a dingbat, and has been a total disaster as leader of North Korea, but you really have to like the guy.

Stoic Patriot on January 11, 2016 at 6:55 PM

How much “praise” can this be when it’s prefaced by labeling Kim a “maniac”? The answer is: not much. Any fair estimation of this statement in total would conclude that Trump isn’t praising Kim — he’s criticizing US handling of Kim, and perhaps especially the misconception of him as a puppet.

The better question is: “Why are you concerned enough to write an article on this?” This article is a ton of nervous hand-wringing and attempts at “clarification” on behalf of a candidate not in need of any.

Stoic Patriot on January 11, 2016 at 7:00 PM

“It’s incredible. He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one. I mean this guy doesn’t play games. And we can’t play games with him.”

And Obama’s State Department refuses to accept the fact that North Korea is a Nuclear Power now. Games indeed.

Johnnyreb on January 11, 2016 at 7:04 PM

And Obama’s State Department refuses to accept the fact that North Korea is a Nuclear Power now. Games indeed.

Johnnyreb on January 11, 2016 at 7:04 PM

Have you learned nothing from Bruce Jenner? Reality is whatever you pretend it to be!

Stoic Patriot on January 11, 2016 at 7:05 PM

I have to give Hot Air credit. They are leaving no straw left ungrasped in their attempts to dethrone Trump and save the campaigns of the liberal republicans.

But really, you’d be better off just running pictures of ¡La Jebita! holding a kitten.

Oh wait. Cats don’t like ¡La Jebita! either.

Magicjava on January 11, 2016 at 7:07 PM

I dunno, guise, when an aspiring leader praises Putin and Kim, I gotta take him at his word.

CivilDiscourse on January 11, 2016 at 7:08 PM

Trump makes a very valid point. I’ve been hearing for years now, that the NK leader is a complete moron and a joke. Obviously that’s not true. Making fun of foreign dictators may make some people feel good, but it doesn’t accomplish much.

cimbri on January 11, 2016 at 7:08 PM

That is C R A Z Y that Trump said that!!!!!!!

This is the end of Trump. I mean.. the real end of Trump. Trump has jumped the shark. We’ve finally reached Peak Trump. Enjoy it now because it will soon be all over. And then we’ll just have the hangover left for all you Howling Trumpkins!

anotherJoe on January 11, 2016 at 7:10 PM

I dunno, guise, when an aspiring leader praises Putin and Kim, I gotta take him at his word.

CivilDiscourse on January 11, 2016 at 7:08 PM

I’m on record as saying that 9/11 was a finely crafted gem of an op, too, a statement I stand by to this day.

That doesn’t mean I’m on the same side as the people who committed it.

Is that distinction too subtle for you?

GrumpyOldFart on January 11, 2016 at 7:21 PM

Trump said it, so we must all clap, smile and nod our heads in support and admiration.

portlandon on January 11, 2016 at 7:22 PM

Guise and girls, so many of you can simply not be taken seriously, nor at your word, for your word is all crap.

Strictly on topic, item 6457

Schadenfreude on January 11, 2016 at 7:23 PM

Poor portlandon went the way of not2bright.

Get back to normal, soon.

Schadenfreude on January 11, 2016 at 7:24 PM

Trump is not underestimating Kim or North Korea.

Kim is off his rocker but is still smart and cunning; crazy smart. This is what Trump is saying.

This is wise.

Bubba Redneck on January 11, 2016 at 7:25 PM

Welcome back to the Final Round of Celebrity Jeopardy! Again, let’s remind our viewers of the answer: “Ali Khamenei, Kim Jong Un, and Vladimir Putin.”

Our first contestant is Tlaloc with -$5,000. And you answered: “What is Heroes!” Nope, I”m sorry. And how much did you wager? Your next EBT payment? Uhm, you can’t wager more than you’ve already lost …

Our next contestant is weedisgood with $0. weedy has employed the unique strategy today of never buzzing in on any question. And you answered: “What is Dictators shorter than 5’4″.” That’s correct! Let’s see what you wagered … and … uhm … it’s five kilos. Okay …

Our final contestant is Donald J. Trump with $100,000. And you answered: “What is the Nuclear Triad?” As we know, that’s incorrect. And how much did you wager? Only Iowa … well, you’re STILL THE WINNER!

ShainS on January 11, 2016 at 7:25 PM

Trump time sharing an IQ with Obamao

Lee Jan on January 11, 2016 at 7:26 PM

Clinton, Bill and Hill, China and obama, thank them for the improved success of the little fat dicktator of N. Korea.

Also, get your heads out of your Trump hating azzes. Some of you are pathetic. You’ve lost your once good minds.

Schadenfreude on January 11, 2016 at 7:27 PM

Maybe there is hope for a Trump presidency then…

trs on January 11, 2016 at 7:29 PM

Bill Clinton let them have the nukes.

obama did nothing, thus improving their might.

The Chinese are thugs, who hate nothing more than a free Korea, at the cost of so much pain.

Laughing at some of you is ‘fun’ and at some of you is painful.

Illiberal thugs, instead of laughing at Trump, type about the N. Korean scum of humanity and those who gave him/them wings.

Schadenfreude on January 11, 2016 at 7:30 PM

Once again Trump set the trap.

Later Bill Clinton, Hillary and obama, and China, will zoom right into it.

Schadenfreude on January 11, 2016 at 7:32 PM

Donald Trump loves maniacs.

Stoic Patriot on January 11, 2016 at 6:55 PM

As the Texas senator gains ground over the billionaire businessman, Trump used a “Fox News Sunday” appearance to refer Cruz as “a little bit of a maniac.”

Ted Cruz
✔ @tedcruz

In honor of my friend @realDonaldTrump and good-hearted #Maniacs everywhere: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NjbGr2nk2c
5:46 PM – 13 Dec 2015

LashRambo on January 11, 2016 at 7:33 PM

When viewed, however, it’s clear that Trump is warning against taking him lightly or assuming he’s just a pawn:

Are you referring to Kim Jong Un or the King Howler Monkey himself?

This sentence works- whichever.

Happy Nomad on January 11, 2016 at 7:34 PM

On Oct. 6, 1975, an individual walked into the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York Field Office to make a statement. He was agreeing not to talk about the work of Paris Theodore, one particularly colorful and mysterious weapons designer.

“The undersigned agrees that he has no intention of using any information he gained through his association with Paris Theodore in any article or book,” the handwritten note explained. Censors redacted the names of the individual and the FBI special agent who witnessed the moment.

War Is Boring obtained this page — along with three administrative cover sheets — in response to a Freedom of Information Act request for details about Theodore’s work for the Bureau. Four other pages are currently being reviewed by “another agency.”

http://warisboring.com/articles/this-weapons-designer-was-a-real-life-man-of-mystery/

IDontCair on January 11, 2016 at 7:35 PM

Trump called Jong-Un a “maniac” during remarks about North Korea’s nuclear program during a rally at Ottumwa, Iowa, but conceded, “You gotta give him credit.”

And beyond that, all he says about the whole situation is that he buys lots and lots of TVs from South Korea. The man is an ignorant, uninformed, douchebag.

Happy Nomad on January 11, 2016 at 7:35 PM

the liberal blog hot air is not in anyway an indicator of reality.
i wonder what MM would say about what was left behind.

MrMoe on January 11, 2016 at 7:37 PM

Donald Trump should convince the South Koreans to “Build a wall” and make the North Koreans pay for it.

portlandon on January 11, 2016 at 7:40 PM

Defending Trump here…Give the man credit for stating the obvious, in a town(Washington D.C.) were the current controlling party pretends nothing happening. Trump, in his Trumping way put it pretty bluntly, good for him. Ed, gave Trump credit for being forthright and covered the media reaction. Which promptly tried to bury the story. The bigs did not want to cover this. Trump forced them, hence the reaction from ABC. Good post Ed, too bad some of the pro Trump people of this thread have a serious lack of understanding….

flackcatcher on January 11, 2016 at 7:40 PM

I have to give Hot Air credit. They are leaving no straw left ungrasped in their attempts to dethrone Trump and save the campaigns of the liberal republicans.

Magicjava on January 11, 2016 at 7:07 PM

They’ll collect enough straw to make the bed they lie in.

BoxHead1 on January 11, 2016 at 7:41 PM

When viewed, however, it’s clear that Trump is warning against taking him lightly or assuming he’s just a pawn

That is all you needed to write Ed with the video.

NWConservative on January 11, 2016 at 7:45 PM

Trump doesn’t know jack squat about NoKo or the hell this regime has unleashed on their people for 60 years.

AYNBLAND on January 11, 2016 at 7:47 PM

I have to give Hot Air credit. They are leaving no straw left ungrasped in their attempts to dethrone Trump and save the campaigns of the liberal republicans.

Magicjava on January 11, 2016 at 7:07 PM

They shouldn’t change a thing.

Schadenfreude on January 11, 2016 at 7:50 PM

Left unsaid, though, is what Trump’s policy would be regarding Kim and North Korea. What would Trump do differently than the status quo?

William Eaton on January 11, 2016 at 7:54 PM

More toolish by the day…

voiceofreason on January 11, 2016 at 7:55 PM

IGNORE MY COMMENT ABOVE…That was Ed’s quote, without the quote…hit he wrong button.

Oh brother…here is what I wanted to say.

Left unsaid, though, is what Trump’s policy would be regarding Kim and North Korea. What would Trump do differently than the status quo?

Trump is going to stick a big tariff on China if they don’t start doing something about North Korea.

William Eaton on January 11, 2016 at 7:57 PM

There isn’t much left to do except to horse-trade with China in hopes that they will use their influence to conduct a regime change and bring something akin to rational leadership in the DPRK.

Oh, I think Trump might have some leverage and here’s the horse trade: China deposes Kim; empties NK of nukes and nuke tech; and sets up a interim government they run for ten years to get them on their feet and Trump drops his idea for the 45% tariff on Chinese goods.

Dusty on January 11, 2016 at 8:03 PM

Left unsaid, though, is what Trump’s policy would be regarding Kim and North Korea. What would Trump do differently than the status quo?

William Eaton on January 11, 2016 at 7:54 PM

Good question. Although I have suspicions about Trump’s initial opinions (no one individual can be fully and properly informed on everything) and emotionalism — my read on him, his employees, and his business success is that he will (similar to Reagan) bring the best folks he can on board, listen with an open mind to their guidance and/or competing viewpoints, and either make decisions or delegate them to others appropriately.

Which, I think, is a good thing as opposed to some idiot know-it-all, micromanaging, ideologue like The DogEater …

ShainS on January 11, 2016 at 8:03 PM

Trump is going to stick a big tariff on China if they don’t start doing something about North Korea.

[William Eaton on January 11, 2016 at 7:57 PM]

Beat me by 5 minutes.

I must say, you are very insightful. :-)

Dusty on January 11, 2016 at 8:05 PM

Day…oh, six or seven (it’s not a day one priority, that’s saved for naming special prosecutors to investigate the Obama adminstration’s Cabinet officials) you call in the Chinese ambassador and ask them how much of North Korea they want, ’cause it’s gonna cease to exist as a country in two weeks and, to be fair, we want the Chinese to have an appropriate buffer zone.

Then see what comes of that discussion.

JEM on January 11, 2016 at 8:31 PM

Left unsaid, though, is what Trump’s policy would be regarding Kim and North Korea. What would Trump do differently than the status quo?

William Eaton on January 11, 2016 at 7:54 PM

In a weird existential way, it’s hard to answer that because Kim would almost undoubtedly treat a President Trump differently than he is currently treating 0bama, who he (and the rest of the world) has correctly divined as being toothless. Weakness invites aggression, and defines how we are currently dealt with in the world.

Additionally, Trump is a deal-maker; it defines and motivates him. And one thing a smart deal-maker won’t do is to expose his plans and options before the bargaining begins, or really, at any time.

bofh on January 11, 2016 at 9:26 PM

Trump said it, so we must all clap, smile and nod our heads in support and admiration.

portlandon on January 11, 2016 at 7:22 PM

+1

CivilDiscourse on January 11, 2016 at 10:22 PM

Perhaps he would be getting more praise from the MSM if he had referred to Pyongyang as the “Asian JV Team”.

jbspry on January 12, 2016 at 5:40 AM

But foreign policy based on underestimating maniacs has been working so well.

forest on January 12, 2016 at 7:08 AM

The only reason this is an issue is that ABC and other LSM outlets decided to distort the information to advocate for their chosen political agenda.

Kim and his predecessors have played the past several US administrations like a fiddle. Same thing can be said of Iran. We’ve been made chumps by these guys.

But Trump won’t be a chump. That’s the message, and it is a much needed change of tone.

s1im on January 12, 2016 at 8:18 AM