Trump’s Fake Diplomacy and ‘Fake News’
The president also reminded us that his interest in diplomacy with Iran was fake all along:
The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, “No Conditions.” That is an incorrect statement (as usual!).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019
Media outlets can be forgiven for making the mistake of taking public statements from administration officials as evidence of administration policy, but everyone should know better by now that the Trump administration is never serious when it floats the possibility of diplomacy with Iran. Just last week, both Pompeo and Mnuchin said that the president was willing to meet without preconditions:
“The president has made very clear he is prepared to meet with no preconditions,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a joint press briefing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the White House Tuesday.
Asked if he could foresee Trump meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly later this month, Pompeo responded, “Sure.”
“The president has made clear he is happy to take a meeting with no preconditions, but we are maintaining the maximum pressure campaign,” Mnuchin said.
In late July, the president said much the same thing:
Trump said he would set “no preconditions,” and, “If they want to meet, I’ll meet, anytime they want.”
Trump is now furiously denying that he and his officials said what we all know they said. This is a good indication that Trump’s interest in having a meeting the Iranian government was always superficial and meaningless, and the Iranian government will likely take it as proof that they were right not to want to deal with him. The president makes a habit of denouncing accurate information as “fake news” while promoting his own fabrications as reality, and this is just the latest example of that. Trump has been talking up the idea of meeting with the Iranian government for months, but now he has turned on a dime and wants people to buy into the lie that he never talked about it. Obviously no one can rely on anything he says, and no other government can negotiate with someone who changes positions so radically overnight.