A tale of two Kims -- and two Trump wins

On the left, Kim Kardashian West appears with Donald Trump in the Oval Office after their May 30 meeting. On the right, North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un walks with President Trump during a break in talks at their historic U.S.-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018.


Between his surprising Oval Office meeting with Kim Kardashian West and his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the past two weeks of the Trump presidency have been as meaningful as they have been unprecedented. They also serve as a window into the Trump presidency overall -- especially when it comes to celebrity.

The idea of a Kardashian in the White House was initially the stuff of jokes. The end result of her visit, however, was to shine a light on sentencing and prison reform, ushering in a new era of pardons. Some are no doubt about generating some buzz, but some may also correct real injustices.

Even "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert, who is a vocal critic of the president, began his show the night of Alice Marie Johnson's pardon by stating that Trump did the right thing.

Trump Is Turning Pardon Power Into Reality TV by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on YouTube

"I want you to brace yourself, because here's a sentence I don't often say: Donald Trump did something good," the late-night host told his viewers. "Today, he pardoned Alice Marie Johnson, a great-grandmother, first-time, nonviolent drug offender, who received a life sentence for cocaine possession... But maybe he did the right thing for the wrong reason because there was no formal legal process or review, as there normally is. Trump just commuted her sentence because of a meeting with Kim Kardashian. So, executive clemency is now just a reality-TV show."

As much as the president's critics like to scoff at celebrity, it may have played an unexpected role in the U.S.-North Korean Summit, as well. Former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman, who appeared on "Celebrity Apprentice," then famously struck up an unexpected friendship with Kim Jong Un, arrived in Singapore just hours before President Trump met with the North Korean leader.


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (L) and former NBA star Dennis Rodman watch North Korean and U.S. players in an exhibition basketball game at an arena in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Thu., Feb. 28, 2013.


He then appeared Tuesday morning on ABC in a red "Make America Great Again" hat and told Michael Strahan, "People thought that I was trying to overstep my boundaries, thought I was a dignitary, an ambassador, human relations or something like that. But I was trying to be someone that brings peace between the two countries."

Rodman went on to share that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called him before the summit to convey that "Trump was very pleased with the things that I've been saying about our country and about him," adding that President Obama always dismissed him as a joke.

We don't know if Rodman's claims are legitimate. But if they are, it just may have taken a fellow controversial celebrity to see past his notoriety to the validity in what he was saying. 

Was the North Korea summit a win? Most are being cautious, noting that there is a fair amount of uncertainty as to whether the U.S. and President Trump can actually trust a murderous dictator like Kim Jong Un. There are also those who believe that no deal should have been struck without addressing North Korea's human rights abuses.

But most agree it's a start. And there's at least a chance the world is safer as a result.