In a detailed Washington Post piece at the end of a bizarre political week, David Nakamura writes, “The White House dumped its South Korean ambassador nominee, State's top North Korean expert resigned; the NSC's Asia director was on paternity leave for 2 weeks. One man swooped in to fill the vacuum: Trump.”
“In Trump’s decision on North Korea, the world glimpses a president who is his own diplomat, negotiator and strategist.
An excerpt from the story of how we arrived at this bizarre point of United States/North Korean diplomacy, without a single Dennis Rodman in sight:
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.
But when a high-level South Korean delegation arrived at the White House on Thursday afternoon for two days of meetings over the North Korea threat, one person swooped in to fill the vacuum: President Trump.
In a stunning turn of events, Trump personally intervened into a security briefing intended for his top deputies, inviting the South Korean officials into the Oval Office where he agreed on the spot to a historic but exceedingly risky summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. He then orchestrated a dramatic public announcement on the driveway outside the West Wing broadcast live on cable networks.