American media personalities and commentators fell all over themselves Thursday when video footage released by the North Korean regime showed an awkward salute and handshake between President Donald Trump and a North Korean general.
North Korean TV has aired its first footage of the #TrumpKimSummit. Look out for the handshake/salute confusion 55 seconds in. pic.twitter.com/JS5yEUprgz
— BBC Monitoring (@BBCMonitoring) June 14, 2018
In the video, President Trump shook hands with a line of North Korean dignitaries. When he reached the general, he held out his hand to shake — but the general instead offered a salute. Trump quickly returned the salute, they shook hands, and they moved on.
The overall media reaction was shame and horror, as they tweeted their shock and outrage that an American President would salute a general from such a brutal regime, thus giving Kim Jong Un legitimacy.
Salute a North Korean general.
But never kneel during the National Anthem. pic.twitter.com/qkyDTetCPT
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) June 14, 2018
If one is wrong, the other is too. pic.twitter.com/3cK95cz07x
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) June 14, 2018
Just the President of the United States saluting a North Korean general. Cool cool cool. pic.twitter.com/L5t94EKzkf
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) June 14, 2018
Firstly, I’ve found my all time favorite voiceover artist. Second, watch Trump salute a North Korean military commander at around :55. Remember when the GOP went indiscriminately batshit when Obama bowed to Japanese Emperor Akihito? I think the word they used was “treasonous.” https://t.co/Qz3UhGJ6Kj
— Bob Cesca (@bobcesca_go) June 14, 2018
Watch Trump salute a North Korean General. What a traitor. Pathetic. pic.twitter.com/yVO2C7UHHM
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) June 14, 2018
Not the birthday gift Trump wanted today
North Korean state media just debuted new behind the scene footage of the Trump-Kim Summit, showing Trump saluting a North Korean General pic.twitter.com/x0U5dCZKmH
— Jason K. Morrell (@CNNJason) June 14, 2018
Watch Trump salute North Korean general @CNN https://t.co/dpIBp60NCg
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) June 14, 2018
But a number pointed out that President Trump did not initiate the salute — which is important because, according to military protocols, the salute is always initiated by the lower ranking person.
The North Korean general, when he saluted President Trump, was recognizing him as a superior and showing him respect. The return of such a salute serves as an acknowledgment of that initial show of respect.
Trump’s salute is the equivalent of someone saying “have a safe flight” and you saying “you too!”
Everyone take a deep breath. He’s not the Manchurian Candidate.
— Justin Miller (@justinjm1) June 14, 2018
If you watch the actual video, the NK General salutes him first, and @POTUS returns it.
He didn’t just randomly salute him. The general showed deference to the president of the United States. https://t.co/DVC3puiHV9
— Paul Szoldra (@PaulSzoldra) June 14, 2018
Actually, President Trump initially went to shake his hand, then the general saluted him first
In the military, this is called returning a salute https://t.co/ObKdHi8Rqi
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) June 14, 2018
CNN’s full report did reveal that President Trump was, in fact, returning the salute — in spite of the fact that several CNN employees tweeted only about Trump offering a salute.
The Trump salute controversy is everything wrong about American media discourse in that it is far too often an issue of style rather than substance.
— Arash Karami (@thekarami) June 14, 2018