NEWS AND OPINION:
The White House has not given up on a third summit with North Korea. The unprecedented first meeting between President Trump and leader Kim Jong-un on June 12, 2018, was covered by 3,000 journalists from 40 countries — and it yielded hope that the isolated nation would join the world neighborhood. The second meeting eight months later was so-so. Now there’s talk that a third rendezvous could be in the making, which could reboot the process and possibly provide a productive boost for Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign.
“Multiple senior White House aides have confirmed that the Trump administration is now considering new proposals to achieve what the White House hopes would be a ‘breakthrough’ in what are now long-dormant talks with North Korea. If a deal can be struck, the hope is that the agreement would be signed in a potential third summit this fall, in an Asian capital within train or flying distance of Pyongyang,” writes Harry J. Kazianis, a contributor to The American Conservative.
“Team Trump is developing an idea of a bilateral summit that will achieve clear deliverables for both sides. They clearly do not want a summit that can be slammed as a photo-op,” he says.
“The idea is to pitch something where Trump can’t be called weak by the Joe Biden campaign and offers North Korea enough where they will take at least, what was called by one White House official, a ‘modest step’ towards denuclearization,” writes Mr. Kazianis.
The approach appears practical. The White House would halt specific sanctions against North Korea in exchange for concessions on the hermit nation’s nuclear weapons program.
“We just need to know what North Korea is looking for. We want to make this work,” a White House source told Mr. Kazianis.
“Ending the Korean War not only helps President Trump achieve a historic milestone but it’s something that if the timing is right, say in October, allows us a win Democrats would have a hard time blunting. How do you run against peace? You can’t without looking like a sore loser or jealous,” a Trump campaign official advised the analyst.
‘PUNISH THE STATUE SMASHERS’
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, has introduced the “Protect America’s Statues Act of 2020,” which would bar state and local entities that do not protect historic monuments from receiving certain federal grants.
“Public monuments are indispensable because they tell the American story. It is wrong to erase our history. We should be learning from it. Instead, leftwing mobs in cities across the country are destroying statues of General Grant, St. Serra, Christopher Columbus, and abolitionists. This is lawlessness in its purest and most unacceptable form,” Mr. McCarthy said in a statement.
“Yet too many liberal mayors and governors won’t restore order or arrest the rioters. Many seem to agree with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who excused mob rule as ‘people will do what they do,’ as if that absolves them of their failure to follow the law,” Mr. McCarthy said.
“If state and local officials will not protect historical monuments, then Congress must and will. My legislation has real consequences for states and cities: no order, no funding. It is time to respect our laws, protect our history, and punish the statue smashers,” he said.
‘MELANIA IS STILL WAITING’
Fashion magazines are continuing their ban on featuring first lady Melania Trump. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who leads the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is now featured in InStyle magazine, wearing sunglasses, sitting poolside and sharing thoughts.
“I think everybody thinks I’m doing more than an outstanding job,” he told the publication..
Some wonder why Mrs. Trump — who champions multiple social causes and has represented the U.S. on a global stage — has not been offered a similar treatment.
“First lady Melania Trump, a former fashion model, has yet to be featured in InStyle since becoming first lady, in stark contrast to her predecessor former first lady Michelle Obama, and, apparently, even Dr. Fauci,” writes Amanda Prestigiacomo, a staff writer for The Daily Wire who points out that Mrs. Obama was featured on a dozen major magazine covers — including three appearances on the cover of Vogue.
“Yet Melania is still waiting,” tweeted Jenna Ellis, senior legal advisor for Team Trump.
In the past, President Trump has suggested that Melania “would be fawned over like former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis if she were a Democrat,” said Ms. Prestigiacomo.
THE GRASS GROWS GREENER
The business has come a long way since the hippies of yesteryear peddled “pot” on city streets.
“With revenue of $10.6 billion-$13 billion in 2019, sales of legal adult-use and medical cannabis in the United States topped spending on sleep aids, hard seltzer and toothpaste combined,” said an analysis published by Marijuana Business Daily, an industry publication.
“Total marijuana sales now exceed the NBA’s annual U.S. revenue and, by 2024, could surpass Americans’ annual spending on craft beer,” said the analysis, which noted that Americans spent $3 billion on toothpaste.
WEEKEND REAL ESTATE
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POLL DU JOUR
• 28% of registered U.S. voters say America is the “single best place to live in the world.”
• 17% say America is “among the very few best places.”
• 37% say America is an “above average” place to live.
• 14% say America is “average’; 4% say it is “below average.”
Source: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of 900 registered U.S. voters conducted July 9-12 and released Thursday.
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.