NORTH KOREA/NUCLEAR/SINGAPORE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Less than a year ago, President Trump was savaging Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, as a ‘madman’ and murderer of his own people, branding him as ‘Little Rocket Man’ for his nuclear testing exploits and poking fun at his portly stature. Early Thursday [5-10-18] morning, a jubilant Mr. Trump described how Mr. Kim had been ‘excellent’ to three American prisoners he had agreed to release from a prison in North Korea, and ‘nice’ to free them so early — a ‘wonderful thing’ that showed Mr. Kim’s desire to end his country’s isolation. The comments came two weeks after Mr. Trump praised Mr. Kim as ‘very honorable’ in discussions about a coming summit meeting. The head-snapping rhetorical turn has accompanied a major shift in the dynamic between the United States and North Korea as Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim prepare for the unpredecented meeting next month in Singapore. It also underscores the president’s black-and-white worldview — a stark formulation in which there is good or evil, friend or enemy, and not much in between — that has opened him to criticism that he has been too quick to embrace a brutal leader as a worthy negotiating partner.”

-Julie Hirschfeld Davis, “Trump on Kim Jong-un: Once a ‘Madman,’ Now a ‘Very Honorable’ Leader,” The New York Times online, May 10, 2018