What the Hell Just Happened?

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Well, it finally, actually, happened.

After weeks of chest-beating, hedging, backtracking, and coin-minting, President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un actually sat down, face to face, in Singapore for what is likely to go down as one of the most surreal international summits in modern history.


The lightning-quick meeting—the whole thing took less than a day—was notable less for its diplomatic outcome than for just how goddamned weird the whole thing was. Let’s recap, shall we?

The whole thing kicked off with a bizarre photo-op, in which Trump and Kim walked purposefully toward one another before shaking hands.

“I feel really great,” Trump said. “It’s going to be a great discussion and, I think, tremendous success. I think it’s going to be really successful, and I think we will have a terrific relationship. I have no doubt.”

Then the pair got down to business, both one-on-one and with their diplomatic teams. While some of the negotiations were broadcast as part of the carefully choreographed pageantry of the summit, Trump and Kim’s sit-down happened behind closed doors, and ostensibly entirely off the record.

“I don’t have to verify [what was discussed during the meeting],” Trump later told reporters. “I have one of the greatest memories of all time.”

Ultimately, both leaders emerged, and sat down to sign a comically vague “statement” regarding the summit. It read, in part:

President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.


There were no details about how the denuclearization would occur. Instead, there was a promise that future negotiations would iron everything out.

The agreement also promised the return of the remains of U.S. missing and POW personnel from the Korean War.


Oh, and while all this was happening, Dennis fucking Rodman was there, weeping on CNN while decked out in gear from the crypto-weed company who’d sponsored his trip to Singapore.

Later, at his first major press conference in over a year, President Trump offered a few additional details about his meeting with Kim. He pledged to end “war games” between U.S. and South Korean troops—reportedly catching South Korea’s government at least partially off guard. Trump also said that he wanted to bring the tens of thousands of American troops stationed in the region home, telling reporters: “I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back home. But that’s not part of the equation right now. I hope it will be eventually.”


Earlier this week, Defense Secretary James Mattis insisted that U.S. troops stationed in South Korea were “not going anywhere.”

Oh, and because this was Donald Trump we’re talking about here, he also bragged about how long he’d stayed awake (25 hours!) and talked about building hotels and condos along North Korean beaches.

Then, Trump sat down with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, where he talked about his bond with Kim (“I do trust him, yeah,”) and invited the Korean leader to the United States, saying “I would love to have him at the White House. Whatever it takes.”


When asked what sort of security guarantees Trump had offered Kim, the president demurred, and instead focused on how much North Koreans loved their dictator:

Well, we’ve given him, I don’t wanna talk about it specifically, but we’ve given him, he’s going to be happy. His country does love him. His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor. They’re gonna put it together, and I think they’re going to end up with a very strong country, and a country which has people — that they’re so hard working, so industrious.


And with that, the president and his team hopped aboard Air Force One and headed back home, leaving the rest of the world scratching its head in their wake.

Senior writer. When in doubt he'll have the soup.