- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 24, 2018

Will they or won’t they? A diplomatic breakthrough between the United States and North Korea stalled for the time being, prompting alarm, scorn and glee among President Trump’s critics. But wait. The door is still open. The president indicated on Friday that the lines of communication were still open, and the White House was in a wait and see mode. But of course. Seasoned observers know that diplomacy is a work in progress, full of tweaks and maneuvers. Deals often follow the same trajectory. Is it time to consult Mr. Trump’s 1987 book “The Art of the Deal” to figure out which strategic tactic the president could be using here? Maybe.

It is telling that the White House instantly released the abrupt but remarkably worded letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the public — and it was instantly parsed for language, tone and intent by a breathless press. Interest is now intense. Curiosity and speculation are rampant, drama is in the air.

Deal-making could be in motion. Let us go back to 1987 for insight.

“Deals are my art form,” Mr. Trump said in his famous book. “Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals. Preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks. Most people are surprised by the way I work. I play it very loose. I don’t carry a briefcase. I try no to schedule too many meetings. I leave my door open.”

Though written 31 years ago, that candid statement reveals that some Trump artistry may be afoot as the planet awaits a decision: Will the pair meet? Jittery diplomats, an intrigued public and the critical news media want to know. Chances are, they won’t have to wait to long for the big reveal.

Meanwhile, a few headlines to get us started.

Donald Trump’s war against himself leads to North Korea summit cancellation” (CNN); “Trump writes Kim Jong-un epic letter cancelling upcoming summit” (Townhall.com); “North Korea summit nixed, Trump’s diplomacy flops” (Washington Post); “Trump may have given Kim an offer he dare not refuse” (The Hill); “Was Trump boxed in by the North Koreans?” (CBS); “Why ‘deal-maker’ Trump found meeting Kim Jong-un a challenge too far” (The Telegraph); “Market slides on new Trump is cancelling” (NBC); “Pelosi, Dems mock Trump for pulling out of summit” (Fox News).

TIMELY REMINDER

“This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer but is also represents a solemn day of remembrance those men and women who have fallen or remain missing while courageously serving in our nation’s armed forces,” say five men with a unique perspective.

“We salute our brothers and sisters who served in the military and didn’t make it back home, as well as the spouses and families who mourn their lost loved ones. Memorial Day weekend should be more than just a long weekend and backyard barbecues, it’s a time to reflect upon the ultimate sacrifice made by tens of thousands of men and women in our armed forces and paying tribute to the people who bravely and selflessly defend our liberty.”

The five in question are Jack Tilley, 12th sergeant major of the Army (retired); Al McMichael, 14th sergeant major of the Marine Corps (retired); Jim Herdt, ninth master chief petty officer of the Navy (retired); Jim Finch, 13th chief master sergeant of the Air Force (retired); and Vince Patton, eighth master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard (retired).

SCALISE ALSO HAS A REMINDER

“Thanks to pro-growth Republican policies, America reclaimed its seat as the world’s most competitive economy this week, beating Singapore and Hong Kong for the top slot,” points out House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, citing a new Bloomberg News report that reveals the U.S. “dethroned” those two power cities by virtue of faster economic growth and a supportive atmosphere for scientific and technological innovation.

Mr. Scalise adds that tax reform and the rollback of burdensome regulations certainly help. He also notes that more than 500 major U.S. companies have announced increased investment and new hiring, while multiple small businesses are expressing increased confidence in the economy.

“While Democrats continue to call for higher taxes, Republicans will continue working to increase American prosperity,” Mr. Scalise observes.

HANDS-ON PRESIDENT

The clock is ticking on the crucial midterm elections, now less than six months away. President Trump appears poised to be a pro-active, hands-on force to bring the election home for the GOP.

“President Trump is completely invested in these midterms,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel told Fox News, crediting Mr. Trump for boosting donations to the party to unprecedented levels.

“Not only is he going to help fundraise, he’s going to be on the campaign trail. And when you see him at a rally, there is nobody who energizes our base more than President Trump. That’s why we are seeing high voter turnout in these primaries. And beyond that, we’re delivering. The president has made promises, and he is keeping them. And the American people are taking notice.”

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: “Tower Hill,” family compound built in 1891 on 20 acres overlooking the Atlantic Ocean near Bridgehampton, New York; restored in 1998 by current owner Christie Brinkley. Nine bedrooms, 11 baths, great room, two family rooms, three fireplaces, gym, office, oversized chef’s kitchen; 11,037 square feet. The building site features 475 tons of rock and a 50-foot observation tower, multiple terraces, guest house, greenhouse, in-ground pool, spa, tennis courts, extensive landscaping. Priced at $29.5 million through Elliman.com; find the home here.

POLL DU JOUR

53 percent of Americans say it is “never” appropriate to protest by kneeling during the national anthem.

86 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats agree.

80 percent of conservatives, 50 percent of moderates and 24 percent of liberals also agree.

63 percent of those 50 to 65 years old, 50 percent of those 30 to 49 years old, and 38 percent of those 18 to 29 years old also agree.

58 percent of whites, 54 percent of Hispanics and 22 percent of blacks also agree.

54 percent of men and 53 percent of women also agree.

Source: A Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation poll of 1,850 U.S.> adults conducted Jan. 24-Feb. 22 and released Thursday.

Have a productive and meaningful Memorial Day, and thank you for reading Inside the Beltway.


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