‘We Didn’t Put It in the Agreement because We Didn’t Have Time’

“You have things that weren’t included that we got after the deal was signed. I’ve done that before in my life. And we didn’t put it in the agreement because we didn’t have time.”

Didn’t have time?

What, was there some other place these guys needed to be? Was either leader worried about missing a flight or something? Trust me, Air Force One isn’t going to take off without the president. This isn’t the SAT, and there is no proctor declaring “pencils down” when the hour is complete.

I suppose you could argue that it didn’t matter if the North Korean pledges were written down or not . . .

.. I keep hearing from Trump fans, “Why can’t you show a little optimism?”

Well, because optimism requires us to believe that these latest promises are completely different from all of the previous promises from this regime.

.. The skepticism I have about this latest round of promises from North Korea is the exact same skepticism I bring to the Iran deal

.. One might argue that duplicity is intrinsic to the nature of any regime that is unwilling to subject itself to the limit of free and fair elections. No one’s ever looked at a dictator, tyrant, despot, or ayatollah and said, “Wow, that guy’s a really honest leader.”

.. Trump’s fans are convinced he’s got some unique “don’t mess with him” mojo that will intimidate the North Koreans into keeping their promises.

.. But I think any U.S. leader hoping to successfully negotiate a deal with the North Koreans has to keep all of this history of broken promises in the back of his mind.

Beware the $31,000 Dining-Room Set

Housing and Urban Development officials repeatedly consulted with Secretary Ben Carson’s wife about the prospect of redecorating his office last year, according to new documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.

.. Helen Foster, filed a complaint with the department’s special counsel last fall charging that she was demoted in part because she warned other officials that the planned refurbishment would require congressional notification because it would exceed $5,000.

.. In a March 5 Facebook post, Carson countered, “The secretary’s dining room is used for business luncheons with a wide variety of people and groups. The furniture is 30 to 50 years old and is very worn. It has also been characterized as unsafe.” (Be careful around those unsafe tables and chairs.)

Michael Wolff’s Revelations and How Conservatives Should Approach Trump

The Right needs an unsentimental, realistic view of this presidency.

But the book’s most damning and consequential revelation lies in its depiction of a president who barely understands the office he occupies and isn’t interested in learning: “He didn’t process information in any conventional sense. He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-literate. He trusted his own expertise — no matter how paltry or irrelevant — more than anyone else’s.”

.. If Trump is an ignorant, egomaniacal buffoon, he’s not enough of one to stop good policy from passing or the country’s condition from improving.

.. The riot and death in Charlottesville demonstrated that Trump can take the easiest layup in American politics — denounce those marching under the Nazi banner! — and botch it completely.

.. Perhaps the stakes of the Trump presidency require conservatives to confront the coming months and years with an unsentimental cost-benefit analysis. Applaud President Trump when he’s right, criticize him when he’s wrong, and ride the horse as far as he can take you — and the moment he can carry you no further, leave him behind. If Trump proves incapable of resisting temptation and irreparably sabotages his own presidency, conservatives shouldn’t strain any muscles to defend him.

.. Don’t buy into the ex post facto justifications that his angry tweets are some irreplaceable communications tool, that his mercurial nature is strategic unpredictability, that his ignorance is feigned, and that he’s playing some secret seven-level chess, with plans within plans, all building up to some ultimate victory that’s just around the corner.

.. There is no secret master plan, no elaborate grand scheme with pieces slowly falling into place.

.. It’s not like what Trump has to do is a mystery. He has to calm down and stop worrying about what’s said about him on television. He has to pay attention in his briefings. He needs to tweet less — a lot less. He needs to think deeply about what his top legislative priority before the midterm elections ought to be, and once he’s decided on that, he needs to work tirelessly to build a majority of votes to pass it. One of Trump’s most popular moments of 2017 was his address to Congress, where he sounded downright normal for a Republican president. Perhaps what Americans want is just to wake up each morning and not have to worry, “What is the federal government going to try to do to me today?”

If Trump can just calm down, focus on governing, and stop acting like he’s hosting a twist-filled reality show, he will be a successful two-term president. But if he keeps indulging his worst impulses and living down to the frightening portrait presented in Wolff’s book, conservatives don’t need to stick with him.

Trump’s Strange Beliefs

But in January, shortly before his inauguration, Mr. Trump told a Republican senator that he wanted to investigate the recording that had him boasting about grabbing women’s genitals. “We don’t think that was my voice,” Mr. Trump told the senator, according to a person familiar with the conversation. Since then, Mr. Trump has continued to suggest that the tape that nearly upended his campaign was not actually him, according to three people close to the president.

.. But in January, shortly before his inauguration, Mr. Trump told a Republican senator that he wanted to investigate the recording that had him boasting about grabbing women’s genitals. “We don’t think that was my voice,” Mr. Trump told the senator, according to a person familiar with the conversation. Since then, Mr. Trump has continued to suggest that the tape that nearly upended his campaign was not actually him, according to three people close to the president.

.. Americans have to hope that Trump is just shooting his mouth off and doesn’t actually believe that his predecessor was a secret infiltrator from Kenya, that his voice was mimicked on the Access Hollywood tape, and that MSNBC’s morning show is hosted by a modern-day Jack the Ripper. If the president really thinks those things, then invoking the Twenty-Fifth Amendment doesn’t seem so unthinkable.

A Cuban Revolution We Could Do Without

As I mentioned earlier this week, if the election of Trump distresses you, your problem is not merely with Trump, but with the electorates that put him there — in both the GOP primary and the country as a whole. No matter how Trump’s presidency finishes, that electorate is still going to be there, unless there is a significant change in the way Americans see the responsibility of voting. (It’s not just Trump voters. Large chunks of the electorate also embraced a Socialist septuagenarian who promised free health care, free college education, free child care, and cradle-to-grave government care, all financed by taxing the rich, and of course, Hillary Clinton, a walking embodiment of secrecy, lies, arrogance, and victimhood.)

.. What if a president is more successful if he knows and understands the complicated apparatus of the federal government, and doesn’t have to rely on staff for the little details like, “No new gas pipeline plans can be approved anywhere in the country if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has less than three members”?