Accuracy in Media

President Donald Trump has taken heat in recent days for appearing “to embrace North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s insults about former vice president [Joe] Biden,” as NBC News’ Brian Williams reported.

On a trip to Japan over Memorial Day weekend to meet the new emperor, continue trade and security talks, golf and attend a sumo match, among other items, Trump “engaged in a first in U.S. foreign relations that we know of,” Williams said.

He reported that, asked at a news conference “does it give you pause at all to appear to be siding with a brutal dictator instead of with a fellow American, the former vice president, Joe Biden,” Trump said, “Well, Kim Jong Un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low-IQ individual. He probably is, based on his record. I think I agree with him on that.”

This “did not go over well even with some members of the president’s own party, though most lacked the courage to speak up,” Williams said.

When Williams brought his panel into the discussion, Peter Baker, White House reporter for the New York Times, said the notion of politics stopping at the water’s edge “probably has been moot for quite awhile.”

Vox was similarly horrified, pronouncing in the headline on its story, “In Japan, Trump broke a cardinal rule of being America’s president.”

“President Donald Trump seems to have a new ally in his 2020 reelection fight: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Vox writer Alex Ward wrote. More shocking, though, is that Trump appears fine with it – and is siding with the brutal dictator over a fellow American.”

“Just stop for a second and think about that: The president of the United States endorsed a foreign government’s nasty insults of America’s former vice president – and did so while standing next to the leader of a top American ally.

“That’s appalling behavior from the president. There’s an unwritten rule that Americans – and especially high-level American politicians – are supposed to leave domestic politics at the water’s edge when they travel abroad. That means you don’t talk badly about your political opponents overseas, but instead show a united front as a representative of the United States. Not only did Trump violate that very basic principle, he did so gleefully – and sided with a murderous, repressive dictator while he was at it.”

Ward does not appear to have similarly upset about Biden’s comments about Trump on Feb. 16 in Germany, in which he called American “an embarrassment” because of the president and said Trump’s trade policies were “self-defeating.”

Nor did he raise similar objections when former President Obama “finally did what his supporters have waited for him to do since he left the Oval Office,” as Krishnadev Calamur noted in The Atlantic. “He spoke up, forcefully, with a dire warning about the direction of global politics. ‘I’m not being alarmist, I’m simply stating the facts,’ Obama said in a closely watched speech in South Africa.”

Nor did Ward take issue when Obama used a G-7 meeting in Japan to attack then-candidate Trump in July 2016 as “ignorant” and with a “cavalier attitude.”

Nor did he seem offended when the Washington Post ran a piece by Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser to President Obama, in which he quoted Obama as telling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “You’re going to have to speak out” against President Trump “when certain values are threatened.”

Nor did he object when Obama met twice since leaving office with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, nor with meetings by former vice-president John Kerry and Sen. Dianne Feisntein, D-Calif., with the heads of the hostile Iranian regime in which Kerry told the Iranians to stall negotiations with the U.S. until Democrats could return to power.

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