Af­ter day of trib­utes, Trump, Kim to ne­go­ti­ate

The Tribune (SLO) - - Insight - BY ED­WARD WONG AND DAVID E. SANGER


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.

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