Fox's Tucker Carlson was present in the official US delegation accompanying President Trump for his historic meeting with Kim Jong Un along the demilitarized line, where Trump became the first sitting American president to ever step foot in North Korea.
Following recent soaring tensions with Iran, which nearly led to war less than two weeks ago, it's since been confirmed that the outspoken non-interventionist Fox pundit was in Trump's ear advising him not to go to war against Tehran. And now Carlson has been seen prominently at Sunday's events along the Korean DMZ.
In the room: N. Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho (left) and Tucker Carlson. pic.twitter.com/KrmTOEBiZf— Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ) June 30, 2019
But notably absent for the history-making occasion was the president's uber-hawk national security adviser John Bolton.
And where was the one person who's supposed to be America's most influential foreign policy thinker and personal adviser to the commander-in-chief?
Delighted to be in Ulaanbaatar & looking forward to meeting with officials to find ways to harness Mongolia’s capabilities in support of our shared economic & security objectives. Thank you for the warm welcome Secretary of State @davaasuren_d pic.twitter.com/AN8T1AHryg— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) June 30, 2019
Where else but Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia? Apparently Trump is keeping Bolton far away from Korea at a time the White House is attempting to repair the damage from the failed Hanoi summit.
The Guardian confirms Tucker's presence at the DMZ summit while Bolton was simultaneously consigned to the Gobi Desert:
The DMZ meeting was all about shaping a narrative. That is why John Bolton, the ultra-hawkish national security adviser, was nowhere to be seen; he had been sent, or sent himself, to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. But the official US party included Tucker Carlson, a Fox News talkshow host, who is Trump’s principal channel to the non-interventionist section of his far-right base. Eleventh-hour conversations with Carlson reportedly persuaded Trump not to launch missiles against Iran this month, after the downing of a US drone.
The report suggests further that US-North Korea dialogue is at too sensitive a stage to have the blustering loudmouth neocon anywhere near it.
The Guardian continues:
The fact that the meeting on Sunday with Kim was more than perfunctory suggests that Trump, for all his bluster, is aware that a mere photo op could not guarantee his image as master deal maker all the way up to the November 2020 presidential election. There had to be some substance, and that would require repairing the damage done in Hanoi.
Last week Trump said during a Meet the Press interview while discussing Iran: “John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him he'd take on the whole world at one time, okay?”
Meanwhile, Carlson's presence as guest of the White House for the Kim summit is already subject of controversy, given that during a Fox & Friends interview he gave from South Korea he said that part of “what it means to lead a country” is “killing people.”
Carlson was responding to criticisms questioning how Trump could possibly meet with a vile dictator, for which the president has increasingly come under fire from both sides of the aisle. Trump is aiming to breath new life into nuclear negotiations which have been dormant since February, which requires direct talks with Kim.
In the controversial statements Carlson called Pyongyang a "monstrous" and "disgusting" regime, but also explained:
"It's not a choice between the evil people and the great people, it's a choice most of the time between the bad people and the worse people."
Tucker Carlson justifies KJU's murderous regime: "You've got to be honest about what it means to lead a country, it means killing people. A lot of countries commit atrocities, including our allies."— Lis Power (@LisPower1) June 30, 2019
Carlson adds, 'it's silly and stupid to point out KJU is 'so mean'' pic.twitter.com/FpAKFQUB3c
Monday night is also set to be interesting, given that Fox News will reportedly air a special interview with President Trump by Carlson which is to be recorded sometime Sunday.