Imagine Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, or practically any other president making a remark like this in public about any dictator. Imagine the ensuing ridicule on Fox News, the outrage on the Senate floor, the musings about the 25th Amendment, and the motion of impeachment that someone would file the very next day.
It takes little imagination to picture the reactions of other world leaders. If Kim and his entourage have a taste for champagne, they no doubt popped another cork—at least the fourth in as many months—over how thoroughly they’ve manipulated the “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” (as Kim once called Trump in their exchange of fiery insults last year). Russian President Vladimir Putin may be plotting ways to one-up his Pyongyang rival and recapture the title of Trump’s BFF. Chinese President Xi Jinping might have assigned his most glorious wordsmith to write Trump a “beautiful letter” to settle their trade war. It would be a shrewd (though perhaps politically impossible) move for Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to entertain a similar ploy to get the sanctions called off. Meanwhile, our traditional allies—whose bonds have long been shaped by common interests and values, not phony (but somehow effective) kowtowing—are no doubt planning ways to retain their mutual ties while distancing themselves from Washington.