Donald Trump, US President and eager contender for the Nobel Peace Prize, has the world on tenterhooks. Could the blustering bravado of the erstwhile reality TV star bring peace to the Korean Peninsula? While the will-he-won’t-he saga with regard to Trump’s summit meeting with North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un next month continues, a White House meeting with another Kim is making headlines. And jokes.
On Wednesday, Trump met with Kim Kardashian — a reality TV star whose popularity far exceeded his own — in the White House. On social media, many took to making fun of the meeting, implying that Kardashian’s visit was a dress rehearsal for the more important meeting with the other Kim in June. Kardashian’s cause célèbre, however, is unlikely to find favour with Trump — she has been campaigning for the release/pardon of Alice Marie Johnson, an octogenarian who has spent over two decades in prison for a non-violent drug trafficking charge. Both Republicans and Democrats have argued in the past for a less punitive approach in the case of non-violent crimes. Trump, though, has mooted the death penalty for offences involving large quantities of narcotics.
Crime and punishment, like foreign policy, is a complex issue, not exactly Trump’s forte. The self-proclaimed master of The Art of the Deal has backed out of his country’s commitments to climate change in the Paris Accords as well as from the Iran nuclear deal. A photo-op with one of the most famous people in the world certainly keeps alive his brand. But for Kardashian, the meeting will likely be fruitless — the chances of Trump actually becoming “soft on crime” are minimal. Meanwhile, the other Kim — emerging resplendent in high-definition photographs — may be watching with bated breath his namesake’s attempts to convince his rival. The hope that a Kim can get a good deal has a lot riding on it.