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Trump calls Kim Jong-un ‘short and fat’, says they could still be friends

U.S. President Donald Trump has mostly been on best behaviour while touring Asia, but it looks like the wheels are starting to come off.

He played some golf and fed fish with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and got very chummy with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

But things started going downhill when Trump once again said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that Russia didn’t meddle in the U.S election, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Trump took to Twitter while in Vietnam over the weekend, first tweeting a rant about Russia before having a go at North Korea’s nutter-in-chief, Kim Jong-un.

When Trump gets mad, he tends to fall back into School Bully mode. That’s exactly what happened when he unleashed on the world a tweetstorm of name-calling and finger-pointing.

He started on the topic of Russia, using the opportunity to deride all the “haters and fools”, the “Fake News Media” and, of course, “Crooked Hillary Clinton”.

Trump was probably already in a bad mood when he heard Kim Jong-un had called him “old”.

Trump quickly returned fire because – as everyone knows – the best way to deal with a dangerous, power-mad dictator with nukes is to call him names.

“I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat’,” Trump tweeted, falling back on one of his favourite rhetorical devices.

Word nerds will recognise Trump’s use of “apophasis” here (Greek for “to say no”), which is when someone brings up a subject by denying it.

This isn’t the first time Trump has weaponised apophasis.

“I was going to say ‘dummy’ Bush; I won’t say it. I won’t say it,” Trump said of George W. at a rally last year.

Here’s some other examples:

Trump ended his attack on Kim Jong Un by saying that he had tried hard to be his friend, and this topic came up again at a news conference in Vietnam on Sunday night.

“Strange things happen in life. That might be a strange thing that happens. But it is certainly a possibility,” Trump said.

“If that did happen, it would be a good thing for, I can tell you, for North Korea. But it would also be good for lots of other places, and it would be good for the world.”

Somehow, I doubt it.

I’m not saying Trump is a terrible President who stinks at diplomacy. I would NEVER say that!

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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