Thursday, May 24, 2018

'No, Trump is writing this one himself. It will be the best letter...'

The letter from Donald Trump to Kim Jong-Un, which cancels the leaders’ proposed summit in Singapore, will certainly go down in the political annals.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that commentators will remember it as a prelude to some catastrophic conflict on the Korean peninsula. If we’re honest, it may signal the end of a brief window, early in 2018, when people naively thought that war might be averted.

I sincerely hope it doesn’t have such grave historic significance.

But as a copywriter, I can weep a thousand tears without a single shot being fired in anger.

What’s extraordinary about the text is that it’s clear Trump actually played a major part in writing it. We can tell because it is so atrociously and bizarrely constructed.

There can be few jurisdictions in the modern world where Presidents and Prime Ministers still draft their own correspondence. And if your President was one Donald J Trump, you’d sure as hell keep him the f*** away from Microsoft Word. I mean Twitter’s bad enough.

The guy can’t even get the left-hand justification right in the address at the top.

If only he could afford a secretary. I’m sure Vladimir Putin would happily supply some candidates.

Anyway, there are two fundamental levels of critique that I would offer in relation to this bizarre letter.

The first would be about the weird oscillation between fawning praise for the tubby Korean dictator and vehement criticism.

The letter starts by generously congratulating Kim for the ‘time, patience and effort’ that he’s put into negotiations.

Within a couple of sentences, Trump is denouncing him for the ‘tremendous anger and open hostility’ of his recent statements.

In the next paragraph, the 45th US President is waxing sentimentally about the ‘wonderful dialogue’ that had been built up with his North Korean counterpart and the ‘beautiful gesture’ of releasing hostages. But this comes after Trump has prayed that he’d never have to use his ‘massive and powerful’ nuclear arsenal on his erstwhile pal in Pyongyang.

The letter from Washington reveals a love-hate relationship. It veers faster than one of Kim’s rockets between the nauseatingly sycophantic and obsequious through to the downright deranged.

My second concern is over just how badly written it is.

That second sentence.

‘We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant.’


What the hell is he talking about?

That sentence is totally irrelevant, Donald.

‘Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent, that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.’

Let’s leave aside the fact that the construction of this sentence is both pathetically grandiose and clumsy as hell. How can something which is to the detriment of the whole world be to the benefit of the US and North Korea?

‘If you do change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write.’


I’m going to let the ‘change-your-mind-having-to-do-with’ stuff wash over me, as I don’t want to up my blood pressure meds.

But Trump is cancelling the meeting, not Kim. So what exactly is Kim supposed to be changing his mind about?

The casual tone of this sign-off paragraph gives the impression that an old buddy has cried off on a golfing tournament. Trump is a bit annoyed that his mate now claims to be too busy for 18 holes at Mar-a-Lago. But he’s magnanimous about it.

‘Ok, well if you change your mind, give me a call…’

Perhaps Kim will drop a message in the deranged dictators’ group chat in the next day or two?

I’m certainly eagerly anticipating Kim’s reply. And I’ll bet you 10 bucks it’s in better English.

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