Pompeo: Guiliani doesn't speak for the administration on foreign policy

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo updated the White House press corps Thursday afternoon about the upcoming G7 Summit and the Singapore Summit. As he took a few questions from reporters, he was asked about President Trump’s lawyer’s offhand remark about North Korean President Kim Jong-un.  Wednesday Rudy Guiliani said Kim  “got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him” after Trump canceled the summit. Clearly, Pompeo wasn’t going along with Guiliani’s latest rogue statement. He said it was a joke made in the setting of a small room.

Pompeo emphasized that he thought Giuliani was not “being serious” and was speaking “in jest,” and that the administration is focused on the “important things” and “moving forward.”

Guiliani is savvy enough to know his description of Kim Jong-un’s reaction to Trump’s canceling the Singapore Summit would be an attention grabber. Perhaps it was his way of projecting Trump as the dominant one in the negotiations. Whatever the reason, the remark landed with a thud.  It’s not unusual for Guiliani to be candid in his remarks but lately, it seems he’s blurting out some odd statements for no obvious reason. Besides this latest one, he was also the one to introduce the idea that Trump can pardon himself, if needed, into public speculation.
Pompeo spoke confidently about the fact that he has been personally assured by Kim that Kim wants to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons. Also, this time must be different than the negotiations of previous years.

“I haven’t spent that much time with him,” Pompeo said, referring to Kim Jong Un. “He has indicated to me personally that he is prepared to denuclearize — that he understands that the current model doesn’t work.

“He understands we can’t do it the way we’ve done it before,” Pompeo added. “That this has to be big, and bold, and we have to agree to make major changes.”

Pompeo took a swipe at the Obama administration, too, as he set the table for the conditions of the summit and implied that Trump will be a two-term president.

“We are hopeful that we will put ourselves in a position where we can put ourselves in a position the previous administration didn’t do,” Pompeo said. “They signed a flimsy piece of paper, and we’re hoping to submit a document that Congress would also have a say in,” in an apparent reference to a treaty or other binding document.

If that happens, Pompeo said, “when administrations do change, as they inevitably do and this one will six-and-a-half years from now … Chairman Kim will have comfort that American policy will continue down the same path, on the course that we hope we’re able to set in Singapore.”

Let’s hope Rudy Guiliani is left at home as President Trump travels to both the G7 Summit and the Singapore Summit. Also, scaling back on the televised appearance would be a good idea.