The war of words between the Trump administration and the media continued on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, when the secretary of state was criticized by the New York Times for leaving on a mission to North Korea instead of remaining in Washington to attend the president’s speech on the Iran nuclear deal.
The Times headline read, “At a Key Moment, Trump’s Top Diplomat Is Again Thousands of Miles Away.”
Gardiner Harris, the author of the piece, wrote that Pompeo’s absence had confused America’s allies.
“The absence of Mr. Pompeo and other top State Department officials left perplexed European diplomats privately complaining that they were having trouble getting answers from Washington.
“Senior State Department officials were momentarily speechless on Tuesday when asked why Mr. Pompeo did not delay his trip by a day to be in Washington during Mr. Trump’s Iran deal announcement.”
The article did mention that Pompeo was returning from North Korea with the three American prisoners, which led Fox News to wonder why the Times chose to criticize the secretary of state for going to North Korea.
Directly below the headline criticizing Secretary Pompeo, the caption for the featured photo mentioned that he would be returning with the three Americans detainees. Apparently, the Times was well aware of the reasons for the secretary’s trip.
“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to return from a trip to North Korea with three American detainees being held captive in the country.”
The president took the opportunity to celebrate the good news on Twitter.
I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting. They seem to be in good health. Also, good meeting with Kim Jong Un. Date & Place set.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2018
Americans remember the fate of Otto Warmbier, the young man from Cincinnati, Ohio, who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor by North Korea for stealing a propaganda poster from a hotel. He was finally freed on June 12, 2017, and he was returned to the United States in a coma. Otto Warmbier died at the age of 22 on June 19, 2017, in the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Considering the importance of recovering the three prisoners in good health, especially as the president is on the verge of his historic meeting with Kim Jong Un, some observers were surprised by the tone of the Times article.
As the hostility between the Trump administration and the mainstream media continues unabated, it will be interesting to see how the headlines will read if Donald Trump is able to convince North Korea to give up their nuclear program and finally end the Korean War.