After day of tributes, Trump, Kim to negotiate
After exchanging praise over dinner, President Donald Trump was expected to open a day of formal talks with Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, on Thursday with a oneon-one session aimed at once again trying to put the North on a schedule for dismantling its nuclear weapons program.
A ceremony to sign a “joint agreement” between the two leaders was scheduled to take place in the afternoon, raising expectations for a diplomatic breakthrough that could include steps to declare a permanent peace on the divided Korean Peninsula and build a new relationship with a country that has been a bitter adversary of the United States for nearly 70 years.
The historic summit, the second between Trump and Kim in eight months, unfolded in the shadow of events in Washington, where Michael Cohen, the president’s former lawyer and fixer, riveted the American public with a searing day of testimony that could intensify the criminal and civil investigations swirling around the president.
Before Cohen began speaking to the House Oversight Committee, Trump accused him of lying in a tweet from Hanoi, writing, “He is lying in order to reduce his prison time.”
Hours afterward, Trump was shaking hands with Kim against a backdrop of North Korean and American flags before dinner, and listening to the young dictator praise his leadership. “I truly believe that this successful and great meeting that
Heath Mayo had had enough of CPAC, and now his idea of getting a few friends together to talk conservative issues as an alternative to the starstudded, high-priced event has mushroomed into a national movement to skip the Conservative Political Action Conference altogether.
CPAC, the year’s biggest gathering of conservatives, began Wednesday and runs through Saturday. It features speeches from President Donald Trump, most of his cabinet and leading GOP members of Congress, as well as seminars on how to frame issues and run for office.
But to Mayo, a Bostonbased management consultant, CPAC has de- volved and is now devoid of the passionate discussion of conservative principles he still relishes. So starting Thursday, 12 meet-ups are planned as alternatives. From Thursday to Sunday, conservatives will convene at restaurants and bars in Miami, Greensboro, N.C., Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Houston and Washington.
“This will not be a fullblown conference like CPAC in a fancy ballroom,” says a memo from Mayo to those interested. “There will be no orchestrated cattle calls with big personalities or speakers.”
Instead, he plans “a chance for principled conservatives like you to come together over drinks in your community and make sense of what’s happened both to CPAC and the conservative movement.”
Mayo, a first-time organizer of the Skip CPAC events, began his effort with a tweet. He planned to be in Washington this week to visit his girlfriend and wanted to see if his friends wanted to get together and talk politics.
Others from around the country said via social media or by talking to friends that they’d like to participate in similar meetings.
There’s no charge to participate.
The Mayo groups want deeper discussions about conservatism’s present and future. And at a lower price – a CPAC pass to all general admission events is $330, with discounts for seniors, veterans, first responders and students. A one-day ticket is $165. Friday’s Ronald Reagan dinner, featuring “VIP speakers and attendees, dinner and a post-dinner reception with dancing,” is $250.
Many conservatives are intellectual disciples of those who spawned the modern conservative movement, such as author and editor William F. Buckley, credited with leading the drive to build and promote the philosophical foundation, and President Reagan, who showed how such views could be translated into political action.
And while Mayo told McClatchy his effort has nothing to do with how conservatives view Trump – “We’ll have Trump supporters,” he said, adding, “this is about the direction of CPAC” – some who attend the alternative meet-ups think the current president and his supporters do not ascribe enough to traditional conservative values.
Mayo and his colleagues worry that serious discussions at CPAC will be forgotten or buried under the avalanche of book signings, speeches by conservative stars and an eagerness to network and party.
President Donald Trump dines with Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Wednesday. Trump has often spoken of his rapport with Kim.