It’s a case of “deja news” for MSNBC host Rachel Maddow after former president Trump congratulated North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un on Friday for the addition of North Korea to the executive board of the World Health Organization. On Monday night, Maddow couldn’t help but laugh at history repeating itself.
That history, as she reminded her viewers, is “the Do Not Congratulate saga” of 2018. The short version of that is, in 2018, The Washington Post reported that Trump’s then-team had to write the words “do not congratulate” in all caps across his briefings about the election of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
“They were not real elections. It was therefore important that the President of the United States shouldn’t endorse the purported outcome of these elections, as if they were real,” Maddow explained.
Of course, Trump ignored those words and immediately congratulated Putin upon speaking with him. Naturally, Maddow drew the comparison between congratulating Putin and Trump congratulating Kim Jong Un, calling it “deja news” (seemingly in reference to her newly announced podcast).
Speaking more seriously though, Maddow noted that it’s basically a “standing order” for American politicians to not congratulate a known dictator, and marveled at the fact that some Republicans are still supporting him after it.
“In a normal political world, somewhere between you deciding to congratulate the North Korean dictator, and you misspelling that congratulations — somewhere between there, the idea of you as presidential material would, like, shred itself and blow away like a plastic bag on the median of a 10-lane highway,” she said. “But instead, you know, he’s still the frontrunner of the Republican Party’s presidential nominating contest for 2024.”
Maddow then turned her ire — and amusement — to Trump’s competitor Ron DeSantis, who said he was “surprised” by Trump’s praise of the dictator.
“Surprised, really? I mean, Trump expressing warm, misspelled congratulations to the North Korean dictator is a lot of things but is it surprising really?” she mocked. “You really didn’t see that coming? We really didn’t see this exact thing from him before?”
You can watch Maddow’s full thoughts in the video above.