In July 2015, GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to argue that President Obama’s years-long negotiations to end Iran’s nuclear program had produced a deal that was fundamentally lacking.
“Remember: ending Iran’s nuclear program was supposed to be the point of these talks in the first place,” he said. “What’s already clear about this agreement is that it will not achieve – or even come close to achieving – that original purpose.”
But McConnell dismissed it as “the best deal acceptable to Iran, rather than actually advancing our national goal.”
By comparison, Donald Trump’s flimsy one-pager with North Korea is among the weakest, most toothless agreements to which an American president has perhaps ever affixed their name. It’s so laughable, it’s honestly hard to even take seriously.
In a press conference following his meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Trump praised his months-long negotiation as producing a “very comprehensive” page-long document, as only someone who doesn’t read could.
The joint statement from Trump and Kim has no timetables, no system of verification, and no definition of what denuclearization even means—which seems kind of important since North Korea and the U.S. completely disagree about the specifics of the term.
Yet three years after McConnell trashed Obama’s carefully considered deal that required Iran to eliminate 98 percent of its uranium stockpile up front, McConnell praised Trump’s sell-out to North Korea as “an historic first step in an important negotiation.”
What McConnell didn’t mention was ANYTHING about what North Korea gave up in order to get the validation that comes with your leader shaking hands with an American president and having its flag flown alongside that of the U.S. stars and stripes at the Singapore summit. That’s because Kim gave up nothing. Nada. Zip. The statement he signed simply “reaffirmed” (Trump’s word) terms that North Korean leaders have previously signed on to only to completely violate them later. The difference is, before Trump, no American president had been foolish enough to believe that warranted a face-to-face with North Korea.
The only one who made an actual concession was Trump, who agreed to stop doing joint military exercises with South Korea, something that has rankled the North in the past.
Completely ignoring Trump’s unrequited giveaways, McConnell stood firmly behind the “goals” of the statement because there were no actual details to tout.
“I support the goals contained in the Joint Statement. And I remain supportive of the administration’s stated position, as Secretary Pompeo has reiterated: The goal of the United States is the, quote, ‘complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula …”
… because that hasn’t been the goal of any previous U.S. president. Trump’s the first to have ever thought of it.
Seriously, Mitch? You’re nothing but a partisan sell-out. How about you reissue your 2015 statement on a substantive deal that actually meant something?
“Remember: ending [North Korea’s] nuclear program was supposed to be the point of these talks in the first place,” he said. “What’s already clear about this agreement is that it will not achieve – or even come close to achieving – that original purpose.”
Now, that’s more like it. Let’s face it—as McConnell charged about the Iran deal—Trump’s one-pager was “the best deal acceptable to [North Korea], rather than actually advancing our national goal.”