Why is Trump covering for a dictator?
President Trump may have left his second summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un empty-handed, said Frida Ghitis, but he still had nothing but kind words for a tyrant who murders and starves his own people. Most shamefully, Trump excused Kim for the horrific death of Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old American student who was taken prisoner in Pyongyang in 2016 for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster from a hotel. Warmbier was returned to the U.S. 17 months later—in a coma. He died soon after. At the time, Trump accused Kim of running a “brutal regime.” But now, desperate to keep the possibility of a historic deal with North Korea alive, Trump insists he takes Kim “at his word” when he says he didn’t know about his high-profile American prisoner and feels “very badly” about Warmbier’s mistreatment. Of course, “Trump has a well-established affinity for dictators.” He also accepted the word of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that he wasn’t involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s insistence that he didn’t interfere in the 2016 election. This doesn’t mean Trump should never meet and be civil with autocrats. “But gushing is optional.”