In 2016, Donald Trump won West Virginia by 42 points. Its senior senator, Democrat Joe Mancin, is up for reelection in November, and Republicans have been salivating at the opportunity to replace him with one of their own in vain hopes of holding on to their very thin majority in the Senate.
The three leading Republican candidates included Patrick Morrisey, the state's beefy Attorney General; Congressman Evan Jenkins; and Don Blankenship, the coal company executive who spent a year in prison in connection with the death of 29 coal miners. Blankenship cast himself as the most Trumpistic of the three, but he also campaigned against “Cocaine Mitch [McConnell].”
While we here at AP never celebrate Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in all fairness, we note that Blankenship’s “Cocaine Mitch” ad was grossly unfair to McConnell. It’s based on the fact that cocaine was found on one of the vessels of McConnell’s father-in-law’s shipping company. Blankenship’s rhetoric in the ad was also highly racist.
McConnell, justly incensed, launched, through one of his numerous PACs, blistering ads against Blankenship, and Trump tweeted in strong terms that the voters should vote either for Morrisey or for Jenkins, so that Blankenship would definitely go down to defeat — and that’s exactly what happened, with Morrisey winning and Blankenship coming in third.
Preparing for a long-anticipated summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has left Pyongyang and is on his way to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Accompanying him are three American citizens, all Korean Americans, who were wrongly incarcerated by Kim Jong-un on false charges — something the brutal North Korean regime has been doing for years.
Trump has already announced that when Pompeo and the three arrive tomorrow morning at 2 AM, he will be there to greet them.
This morning on NPR, host Steve Inskeep interviewed Jean H. Lee, a very articulate Korean American scholar (now at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a prominent think tank in Washington), who has frequently visited North Korea. Inskeep pertinently asked Lee
who — Kim or Trump — has the greater leverage in the upcoming summit, and what Kim Jong-un will expect from Trump after having released the three American hostages.
Earlier today, associate solitary reporter Johanna Jones was with Trump as he was sending out his usual nasty tweets. He was exultant about the release of the hostages, and he told her, “Johanna, I am, as everybody knows, the smartest diplomat our country has ever known, and I know that Little Rocket Man is gonna expect me to give him something in return for his release of the three hostages.”
“So I’m gonna send Blankenship to him for him to keep. Blankenship had one year in one of our prisons, and I have no doubt that Kim’s prisons are much worse than ours. It’s a very appropriate place for Blankenship to spend the rest of his life, and I’ll telll Kim that we never want him back, because he crossed me. And nobody gets away with messing with Donald J. Trump.”
“And I might as well send him Eric Schneiderman, who just got caught for abusing women. Schneiderman went after my University big time. For doing that, he deserves to spend the rest of his life in a Korean gulag.”
We asked associate solitary reporter Ko Il-sun, who is based in Seoul, to inquire of North Korea’s Foreign Minister, 리용호 (Ri Long-ho) whether Trump’s offer of Blankenship and Schneiderman will be accepted.
Ri, a highly experienced diplomat who has represented North Korea in the six-party talks, smiled and told Ko that Kim Jong-un is looking forward to stealing all of Trump’s thunder when the two meet. “Certainly, Mr. Ko, we’ll consider taking those two American scumbags, but only if Trump gives us some of his nukes, because we need more of them."