On Thursday, President Donald Trump’s letter to North Korea Premiere Kim Jong Un abruptly canceling the much-anticipated summit between the two leaders came as a surprise to international allies and the American public. But the president, fearing that the North Koreans might beat him to the punch, wanted to be the one to cancel first, multiple officials told NBC News.
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) May 24, 2018
Trump’s decision blindsided his closest insiders. “There was no hint of this yesterday,” one official familiar with the summit preparations said. The stakes were “high risk, high reward.”
White House officials said talk of abandoning the summit began late Wednesday and included the president, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, chief of staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser John Bolton.
President Trump hinted that he had an idea why the North Korea summit went off track, joking that reporters could write about it in a book.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 25, 2018
The decision was based, in part, on inflammatory rhetoric being lobbed back and forth between North Korea and the United States. On Wednesday, Kim warned of “nuclear showdown” with the United States.
He’s like the guy at school whos girlfriend breaks up with him but tells everybody he broke up with her first
— WTFGOP? Jail For #Individual1 (@DogginTrump) May 25, 2018
More than 20 foreign journalists, including some Americans, remain in North Korea.