As Trump aides have signaled that he could soon begin regular travel, the reality is that the White House has created a picture of security that is propped up by special access to the kind of wide-scale testing for covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, that most of the nation remains without.
As parties go, it’s hard to top a state dinner with the queen of England, but President Trump’s sons — Donald Jr. and Eric — tried to keep the revelry going during an impromptu pub crawl in Doonbeg, Ireland, where they bought rounds of Guinness for the locals and reveled in the adoration of a village where the Trump family owns property.
Over the past six weeks, the Trump administration’s roster of Korean experts, already depleted, grew even thinner. The White House mysteriously dropped its choice for ambassador to Seoul. The State Department’s top North Korea specialist resigned. And the senior Asia director at the National Security Council was out the past two weeks on paternity leave.
President Trump signaled Sunday that he does not believe that attempts at direct communications with North Korea are worth the effort despite escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. A day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested that the United States maintains “lines of communications” with Kim Jong Un's regime, Trump wrote on Twitter that Tillerson is “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man” — his nickname for Kim.
“I will always put America first just like you, the leaders of your countries, should put your countries first,” Trump said, returning to a campaign theme and the “America First” phrase that has been criticized as isolationist and nationalistic. The president warned of growing threats from North Korea and Iran, and he said, “The scourge of our planet is a group of rogue regimes.” The North Korean delegation was seated, by chance, in the front row, mere feet from the U.N. podium.
Lawmakers said they came away convinced that the Trump administration recognized the urgency of the mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula, where Pyongyang conducted a failed missile test last week and drew international condemnation for the launch. But several members of Congress said the administration remained vague about its efforts to confront Pyongyang beyond tougher talk from Trump.
President Trump on Saturday praised the U.S. military for carrying out the missile attack on a Syrian airfield and struck back at mounting questions over whether it would help achieve a momentum shift in Syria’s bloody civil war. In an afternoon tweet, Trump defended the operation against criticism from some members of Congress and military analysts that the nighttime volley of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles two days earlier did not target the runways at the Shayrat air base in eastern Syria.