President Donald Trump celebrated a dizzying 24 hours of statecraft with North Korea at a rally in Indiana on Thursday evening, but refrained from any campaign-style bombast in describing his outlook for a scheduled summit with the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un.
“I think it’s going to be a very big success,” the president told an energetic crowd assembled at North Side Middle School in Elkhart. “But my attitude is: And if it isn’t, it isn’t. OK? If it isn’t, it isn’t.”
That particular philosophy, he insisted, was necessary to ensure that America did not stumble into an ill-conceived international pact along the lines of how he portrayed the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement – which Trump effectively terminated on Tuesday.
“You have to have that because you don’t know. We’re not going to walk into an Iran deal,” the president said.
Trump’s remarks capped a momentous day of diplomacy for his administration, beginning with a jaunt very early Thursday to Joint Base Andrews, outside Washington, to receive three U.S. citizens released from imprisonment in North Korea on Wednesday following a tete-a-tete between Kim and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“At 2 o’clock in the morning, I had the incredible honor of greeting three brave Americans,” Trump said to resounding applause. “We welcomed them back home the proper way.”
The president boasted that the detainees’ return wasn’t just a humanitarian achievement, but also a financial bargain for the U.S., and he admonished the Obama administration for a roughly $1.7 billion payment in 2016 associated with an Iranian arms deal and the release of American citizens imprisoned in Tehran.
“Those hostages came out – with respect – we didn’t pay for them,” Trump said. “They came out for nothing, and the others came out for $1.8 billion in cash. Can you believe that?”
Roughly five hours after the Americans’ return from North Korea, Trump revealed on Twitter that his highly anticipated meeting with Kim would take place on June 12 in Singapore.
“I’ll be meeting with Kim Jong Un to pursue a future of peace and security for the world. For the whole world,” Trump told the crowd in Indiana. “So the relationship is good, and hopefully, for all of us, for the world, hopefully something very good is going to happen. And they understand it’s very important for them. It’s important for everybody.”
The president also berated journalists who he said doubted his ability to make progress with Kim’s repressive regime.
“Do you remember everybody in the fake news? They were saying, ‘He’s going to get us into a nuclear war! He’s going to get us into a nuclear war!'” Trump said. “And you know what gets you into nuclear war, and you know what gets you into other wars? Weakness. Weakness.”
The original story can be found here.
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