White House made a Hollywood trailer about Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un for Singapore summit with North Korea

A four-minute video President Trump showed to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un during the two leaders’ summit in Singapore Tuesday was produced by the White House’s own National Security Council. The video, which looks and sounds like an extended Hollywood movie trailer, refers to Trump and Kim as “two men, two leaders” with “one destiny.” It casts Kim, a murderous totalitarian who has accelerated his country’s nuclear weapons program and antagognized the United States and its allies, as a singular figure who has the opportunity to make North Korea, well, great.

With its relatively high production values, the video looks as if it might have been made with an assist from a political consultant shop. But the White House confirmed Tuesday the production was in-house. “The video was created by the NSC to help the president demonstrate the benefits of complete denuclearization, and a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Korean Peninsula,” says NSC spokesman Garrett Marquis.

Marquis did not immediately respond to a question of whether John Bolton, the national security adviser, signed off on the video. Bolton, who joined Trump in Singapore for bilateral talks after the initial one-on-one meeting, has been a sharp critic of the North Korean regime for years and has favored a more hawkish approach to addressing its nuclear ambitions.

Peter Baker at the New York Times writes that while some political consultants saw the benefits of the video in telling a good story, North Korea experts were more concerned:

But veteran diplomats and foreign policy scholars were warier. “I was speechless when I first saw it,” said Alexander R. Vershbow, who served as ambassador to South Korea under Mr. Bush. “Pure Trump with Hollywood production values, showing what Kim Jong-un and North Korea would be like if they make the fateful choice to trade in their nukes for economic prosperity.”

Sung-Yoon Lee, a Korean studies professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, was even less impressed, calling it “eerily reminiscent of second-rate South Korean government promotional videos.” In fact, although the White House said it was made by the National Security Council, she said she instinctively suspected the South Koreans might have created it and gave it to Mr. Trump.

“Will it have any impact?” she asked. “Most likely, this patronizing act will give Kim a good laugh. It may also irritate and, paradoxically, reassure him at the same time — in the knowledge that his two adversaries are utterly clueless.”

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