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The Presidents and Faith

President Joe Biden Refuses to Answer the Definition of a Direct Question on North Korea

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

During his bumbling, painful to watch press conference--his first in 64 days, the longest amount of time for a president in modern American history, President Joe Biden was asked about North Korea. Kristen Welker of NBC brought up concerns to do with the dictatorship overnight firing two ballistic missiles, asking "what, if any actions will you take, and what is your red line on North Korea."


Biden answered that the act was in violation of the United Nations resolution 1718. Was he really expecting them to stick to that? Actually, it's best to leave that question as rhetorical. He's going to be "consulting with our allies and partners. There will be responses if they choose to escalate," which means they "will respond accordingly." 

Where the president truly stumbled along with his answer then, as he seemed to grow tired of the question, was that he was "also prepared for some form of diplomacy, but it has to be conditional upon the end result of denuclearization, so that's what we'e doing right now, consulting with our allies." 

The follow-up question could not have been more direct. It was the definition of direct. Welker asked about "diplomacy, can you define what you mean by diplomacy?" She also reminded President Biden that President Obama warned then President-Elect Donald Trump that North Korea "was the top foreign policy issue that he was watching. Is that how you asses the crisis in North Korea?"

In what was yet another particularly painful moment--and they are hard to count and keep track of--the president took one of his many awkward pauses, and said "yes" What followed was even worse. "Okay, hold on a second here, Kristen... Nancy CBS?" In other words, absolutely no answer with regards to what "diplomacy" means.


North Korea is laughing at us. They don't take us seriously. Who can blame them?

The missiles came approximately a week after news outlets like Reuters discovered and reported that Choe Son Hui, the first vice minister of foreign affairs for North Korea called attempts from the United States to make contact a "cheap trick." 

Chris Wallace on the follow-up discussion on Fox News pointed out how clear it was that President Biden was reading directly from White House talking points, as he was for most foreign policy questions.

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