Was North Korea’s former intelligence chief Kim Yong Chol watching intently on Tuesday night when President Donald Trump wildly claimed he would rebuild all U.S. infrastructure with his own “big beautiful hands?” Because it sure seems that way after Trump’s ceremonious reception of a giant mystery letter that was hand-delivered to the White House on Friday.
Trump seems to have been so elated that someone would flatter him in such a big way that he didn’t realize he may have been on the receiving end of a joke by North Korea’s most prolific cyberwarfare architect and former top spy. In photos released by the White House, Trump is seen smiling bigly as he accepts the gigantic letter sent via Kim Yong Chol from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
When he spoke to reporters on Friday, Trump described the missive as “very nice” before admitting minutes later that he hadn’t even read the damn thing. By Saturday morning, the White House said Trump had read the letter, or maybe someone had read it to him.
In the photos, Kim Yong Chol looks as if he can barely contain his laughter. Trump’s hands are so tiny!
Kim Yong Chol has other reasons to be smiling. The man who was instrumental in turning North Korea into one of the world’s most skilled cyberwarfare states, who reportedly supervised the massive 2014 hacking of Sony Pictures, and who is believed to have been behind two military attacks in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans, has managed to work his way into the White House for a private, two-hour meeting with the president of the United States. We can assume that a transcript of that conversation will not be forthcoming, if similar impromptu meetings in the past are any indication.
Given all of all of this, why is Trump so happy? And can we really trust this president and his administration to protect the country’s national security in such matters? Is Trump being played? So many questions.
Speaking with MSNBC’s Alex Witt, Northeast Asian policy analyst Balbina Hwang summed up the situation like this: “I think he just assumes that any kind of personal letter hand-delivered would be nice.”
Well, that’s reassuring.