Updated 9:12 a.m. | With his White House again embroiled in a crisis and President Donald Trump wondering who he can trust, he touted the support of a new friend: North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
The New York Times on Wednesday afternoon published an op-ed by an anonymous “senior official in the Trump administration” that said Trump is “facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader” in the form of officials across the government “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
Shortly after it was posted online, reporters found closed doors in the West Wing as aides scrambled to craft a response a deal with a reportedly livid president. They could not contain Trump’s anger, and he raged at an event with sheriffs at what he called the “gutless op-ed.”
The president ranted as the law enforcement officials looked on, saying the author someone “probably who’s failing, and probably who’s here for all the wrong reasons.” As he left the room, aides already were trying to determine who wrote the scathing opinion piece that alleges a “two-track presidency” with Trump doing one thing and many in the government doing another — even actively trying to drag out or stifle his policy whims.
The piece even alleges that early in his presidency there were whispers about invoking the 25th Amendment, under which a vice president and 13 of the 24 Cabinet officials can depose a chief executive, to remove Trump from office.
So on Thursday morning, Trump turned to Kim, the dictator who has starved and murdered his own people, for a public vote of confidence.
The embattled U.S. leader wrote in a tweet that Kim had expressed his “unwavering faith in President Trump.”
Trump then added: “Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!”
The latter was an apparent reference to ongoing nuclear disarmament talks. Of course, those have stalled — but, notably, Trump isn’t publicly blaming Kim, one of a few strongmen he seems to revere.
Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims “unwavering faith in President Trump.” Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2018
But some Democratic lawmakers, like Illinois’ Raja Krishnamoorthi, responded with ire to Trump’s embrace of Kim. He criticized the president for “thanking a Stalinist dictator, who butchers and starves his own people, for praising you after he has already been shown to violate whatever handshake agreement on nuclear weapons you thought you had.”
You are the President of the United States and you are thanking a Stalinist dictator, who butchers and starves his own people, for praising you after he has already been shown to violate whatever handshake agreement on nuclear weapons you thought you had. https://t.co/RG30SvzkBK— Raja Krishnamoorthi (@CongressmanRaja) September 6, 2018
Watch: Pompeo, Menendez Clash on Trump’s Private Meeting with Putin, North Korea in Hearing