President Trump may have declared yesterday that there is "no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea," but that remains to be seen.
The White House may insist there is no trade war with American allies—adviser Peter Navarro has apologized for his "special place in hell" slam at Justin Trudeau—but the outcome remains to be seen.
But there is one thing that is crystal clear: Donald Trump, after nearly 17 months in office, now is the Republican Party.
The latest evidence was the primary defeat of South Carolina congressman Mark Sanford, the former governor whose term was marred by a sex scandal after he was found to have snuck off with his Argentinian mistress. Sanford didn’t lose because of a Trump tweet with hours left in the voting (saying "he is better off in Argentina"—yes, he went there) but because he had criticized the president’s policies. This is why most GOP lawmakers are afraid to challenge Trump on just about anything.
So if the Republicans in these midterms are now members of the Trumpist Party, what do they have to run on?
A great economy, to be sure, cooking along at 3.8 percent unemployment, and a president who excels at the culture war. But what will be the impact of the Singapore summit and the G-7 blowup?
As Dan Balz puts it in The Washington Post, "The question is, can he gain something politically from these efforts in the absence of demonstrable accomplishments?"
The president, for his part, is blaming the media for not grasping the greatness of the summit:
"So funny to watch the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN. They are fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea. 500 days ago they would have 'begged' for this deal-looked like war would break out. Our Country's biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!"
First, as someone who wrote a book on the media's overwhelmingly negative coverage of Trump, the press, even the worst press, is not "our country’s biggest enemy." A bigger enemy than Kim Jong Un? Than, what's that guy’s name, Vladimir Putin? I wish the president would stop with this over-the-top rhetoric.
Second, Trump has a fair point that some in the press have gone out of their way to denigrate the Kim meeting, as I wrote yesterday. And it's certainly true that he's reduced nuclear tensions by meeting with the North Korean dictator and starting a negotiating process.
But the press is right to push back against the presidential declaration that there's no longer a nuclear threat. Kim agreed to nothing specific in the joint statement, just a general goal. All the thorny details about disarmament and inspections and the easing of U.S. sanctions remain to be negotiated. The North Koreans have repeatedly lied about giving up their nukes. And the whole process could eventually collapse, as the president has acknowledged.
So it's unlikely there will be tangible results by November.
Whatever the president's anger at the coverage, this is not just a product of the liberal media. Erick Erickson, the conservative blogger and radio host—and a major Trump critic—wrote this yesterday:
"The president pees in the punch bowl of the G7, insists the Russians come back into the organization, then flies off to Singapore to make kissy face with a man who routinely murders his own people.
"Had Barack Obama done that, Republicans would be demanding his impeachment."
But Obama is history and Republicans are now the Trump party.
There is ample hypocrisy on all sides. The president deserves credit for getting Kim to the table, but at the moment there is no deal. The press should be held accountable for its double standard, but it is not, repeat not, America’s enemy.