WASHINGTON — As President Donald Trump prepares to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong Un for a second time, he’s out to replicate the suspenseful buildup, make-or-break stakes and far-flung rendezvous of their first encounter. The reality star American president will soon learn if the sequel, on this matter and many others, can compete with the original.
In his third year in office, Trump is starting to air some reruns.
Trump is headed into fresh negotiations with North Korea, is still pushing for his long-promised U.S.-Mexico border wall and is considering a new round of tax cuts. The focus on his greatest hits in part reflects Trump’s desire to fulfill campaign promises and energize voters for his 2020 re-election campaign. But it’s not without risks.
“The danger is the public starts recognizing this is Groundhog Day,” said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. “You keep thinking there is a win and there is no win. It’s not clear Trump is scoring durable history points.”
With his reality TV background and instinctive sense of how to control a news cycle, Trump has long micromanaged the staging of his image, eager to project power and drama.
Those instincts were on full display during the recent scrap over his second State of the Union address. Trump rejected his aides’ suggestions that he deliver the address from an alternate site after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., withdrew her invitation for him speak at the Capitol during the government shutdown. Trump opted to wait for the real deal.