March 1, 2019
“We are gonna win, win, win. We’re going to win with military, we’re going to win at the borders, we’re going to win with trade, we’re going to win at everything”—has just lost ground in his negotiations with Leader Kim Jong Un of North Korea.
Trump arrived in Vietnam this week entertaining high hopes that he and Kim would strike a deal on denuclearization. Such a pact would have positioned the president firmly in the winners’ circle among global leaders following a long-term standoff with the Asian military state.
“Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump said at a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam. “This was just one of those times.”
“It was about the sanctions,” Trump said at the media event. “Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that. They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that.”
Nonetheless, Trump said the summit was “very productive.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that the two leaders “discussed various ways to advance denuclearization and economic driven concepts.”
“No agreement was reached at this time, but their respective teams look forward to meeting in the future,” she added.
The lack of any tangible results could give fodder to critics who have accused Trump of holding summits with Kim that are nothing more than photo ops that boost the legitimacy of the North Korean dictator, the political news outlet noted.
The summit included a one-on-one meeting and dinner Wednesday night, followed by a one-on-one meeting and meeting with aides Thursday.
Signs that no agreement was within reach became clearer, The Hill reported, a half-hour after a working lunch was supposed to start when the White House told reporters the summit would end earlier than expected. The schedule originally called for the lunch and a ceremony to sign a joint agreement, both of which were abruptly scrapped.
At the start of Thursday meeting, Kim said he was not “pessimistic” about the ability to reach a deal and that he had a “feeling that good results would come out” of the summit.
The stand-down couldn’t have come on a worse day politically for Trump, whose former “fixer” and personal attorney Michael Cohen took the opportunity to “correct the record” before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform simultaneously with the summit—calling Trump “a racist, a conman, and a thief” during nearly a full day of testimony.
“He was just disbarred by the State Supreme Court for lying & fraud. He did bad things unrelated to Trump. He is lying in order to reduce his prison time. Using Crooked’s lawyer!” Trump tweeted, referring to Cohen adviser Lanny Davis, who once worked for former President Clinton.
Research contact: @rebecca_h_k