Fox gushes over Trump's DMZ photo-op while foreign policy experts slam him for granting legitimacy to North Korea’s dictator

Experts on North Korea and foreign policy slammed President Donald Trump’s June 30 meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the North and South Korean border, saying it legitimized Kim and his regime with nothing to show for it. Meanwhile, Trump’s sycophants at Fox News repeatedly praised him for the meeting and for being the first sitting U.S. president to cross into North Korea, with a Fox reporter hyperbolically suggesting it was “the greatest feat of the 21st century.”

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

“What a clown-show”: Foreign policy experts slam Trump’s DMZ meeting 

Inter-Korean political analyst Robert E. Kelly: Trump offer of meeting “is emblematic of why the Trump NK effort is a farce. … What a clown-show.”

Center for Korean History & Public Policy Director Jean H. Lee: “There's a reason why past presidents chose not to go to North Korea while in office: Such visits grant enormous legitimacy to the Kims.”

Samantha Vinograd, member of President Barack Obama’s National Security Council: “By shaking hands with Kim Jong Un at the DMZ with no preconditions attached, he’s really signaling that … North Korea under Trump is a normalized, nuclear power.”

Center for a New American Security’s Duyeon Kim: “No amount of pageantry can magically solve the real and serious security problems that exist.”

Federation of American Scientists’ Adam Mount: “Unfortunately, this is empty pageantry for its own sake.”

North Korea scholar Andrei Lankov described the meeting as “a ‘show’ designed to send a political message without raising expectations about actual progress.”

“A huge win”: Fox News hosts, guests, and op-ed writers glorify Trump for the meeting

Fox & Friends aired footage of Trump stepping across the DMZ into North Korea over the soundtrack of DJ Khaled's “All I Do Is Win.” Co-host Ainsley Earhardt declared the meeting “a huge win.” Guest co-host and Washington-based correspondent Griff Jenkins claimed that “if any other president would have done it,” it would be called “​the greatest feat of the 21st century.”

Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade discounted criticism of Trump’s meeting: “You can't say you're legitimizing a dictator when that family has been in power since 1953.”

Fox News host Tucker Carlson defended Trump for being “sincere” in liking Kim Jong Un and being “realistic” about North Korean atrocities. Carlson also said of Kim: “You got to be honest about what it means to lead a country, it means killing people.”

Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo: “I think it’s incredible that this president has the instincts that he does. … He goes first toward diplomacy.” Bartiromo added that Trump’s visit to North Korea is “obviously among the steps” to denuclearizing the country.

Fox & Friends Weekend co-host: Trump took “historic steps literally and figuratively toward de-nuking the Korean peninsula.”

Fox host Jeanine Pirro: Trump arranging DMZ meeting is “part of his genius. … It’s a good thing ultimately.”

Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Pete Hegseth: “It does take some guts” to go to the DMZ. Hegseth was echoing guest co-host Ed Henry’s statement that “it takes guts, guts for an American president to cross in” to North Korea.

An op-ed at floated the idea of Trump getting the Nobel Prize.

Another op-ed: “With his meeting Sunday with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Trump showed once again why he is the most transformative figure on the planet.”

A third op-ed: “Only a dealmaker president could have brought our nation to the brink of such a momentous possibility for peace with North Korea.”