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CNN’s Brooke Baldwin Presses Ex-Obama Official: Didn’t Trump’s Letter Bring NoKo Back to the Table?

A former Defense Department official under the Obama administration who was critical of how President Trump was handling peace talks with North Korea conceded that his latest move may have brought Kim Jong Un back to the table.

Lindsey Ford, who now serves as Director of Political-Security Affairs at the Asia Society Policy Institute, wrote an op-ed last week for The New York Times claiming that Trump was “outplayed” by North Korea and that the letter the president sent to North Korean Dictator Kim was proof that the administration has “undermined its own leverage.”

Well, since Trump sent the letter that had cancelled the June 12 summit, it seems it had reignited interest in peace talks on behalf of North Korea and that the summit may actually take place.

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin began by asking Ford why Trump got “outplayed” by North Korea. Ford responded by saying the president “puts optics before substance” and that he was “never thinking more than a step ahead.”

“He’s treating this less like a summit and more like a photo op,” Ford told Baldwin. “And because of that, all of the other countries have a clear sense of what they want and they’re going after it and they’re running circles around him.”

“But since that letter that he called this thing off last week, the North Koreans are suddenly warming to the possibility of a meeting that could be back on right now,” Baldwin said. “Is it possible the ‘I’m canceling the summit’ letter brought North Korea back to the table?”

“Yeah it’s possible, but I think you have to ask yourself one: are we coming back to the table having, you know, with any ability to actually resolve the differences between the two countries,” Ford responded. “The president’s approach keeps undermining the leveraging, right? ‘It’s off, I’m willing to walk away,’ and within 48 hours he’s tweeting again, ‘It’s going to be wonderful, and it’s all back on,’ right? So any seriousness that there was about ‘I’m just willing to trash this thing,’ he undermines his position here. And in the meantime, he’s really, I think, strengthened the hand of both Kim Jong Un and the Chinese, while making our allies even more nervous than they already are. ”

Watch the clip above, via CNN.

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