Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump

"Ordinary North Koreans hear those words every day." (Photos: Reuters)

Echoing North Korea, Trump Declares Inauguration a 'Day of Patriotic Devotion'

President Donald Trump proclaimed his inauguration a 'National Day of Patriotic Devotion,' using a phrase popular with North Korean leadership

Nika Knight Beauchamp

President Donald Trump on Monday declared that the day of his inauguration would now be known as a "National Day of Patriotic Devotion," echoing the language of several generations of North Korean leaders.

"NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2017, as National Day of Patriotic Devotion, in order to strengthen our bonds to each other and to our country—and to renew the duties of Government to the people," the proclamation reads.

The Guardian writes that "Jiro Ishimaru of Asia Press, an Osaka-based organization with a network of high-level contacts in North Korea, said that by invoking patriotic devotion, Trump appeared to be channeling three generations of North Korea's Kim dynasty."

"Ordinary North Koreans hear those words every day," Ishimaru told the Guardian. "They don't just appear in the media and speeches, but on posters and in other propaganda."

The newspaper points out that Trump's phrase "patriotic devotion" is a particular favorite in North Korea, offering examples of the phrase from speeches and propaganda:

In an address to a military parade in Pyongyang on 10 October 2015—the party's 70th anniversary—Kim thanked the "heroic men and women" of the army and security services who, "in hearty response to the party's appeal, have worked with patriotic devotion and created one heroic miracle after another" in their quest to build a "thriving socialist nation."

[...] On 19 December last year, the fifth anniversary of the death of Kim's father, Kim Jong-il, the Rodong Sinmun, the ruling party's official newspaper, said of the late leader: "The noble image and patriotic devotion of the peerless patriot, who reliably defended socialism centred on the popular masses and turned [North Korea] into an invincible politico-ideological power and a world military power."

In an article just after Kim's death, the official KCNA news agency cited meteorologists as saying "the spring of prosperity under socialism will surely come...thanks to the patriotic devotion of Kim Jong-il, who blocked the howling wind of history till the last moments of his life."

And last January, the Rodong Sinmun cited a speech in which Kim Jong-un had congratulated a socialist youth league formed in the name of his grandfather and North Korea's founder, Kim Il-sung, on its 70th anniversary.

Kim, according to the paper, said the league had enjoyed "a history of brilliant victories of the great leaders' original idea of prioritising the youth and their wise leadership and a history of ardent loyalty and patriotic devotion, with which the young people of Korea have supported the party and the leader, the country and the people."

"It is not unusual for incoming U.S. presidents to draw on their political and philosophical beliefs when, as is customary, they give a new name to inauguration day," the Guardian adds. "Barack Obama called his first inauguration, in 2009, a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation; eight years earlier, George W. Bush began his first term by declaring the date a National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving."

But Trump's "National Day of Patriotic Devotion" provoked alarm, disbelief, and comparisons to other autocratic leaders on Twitter:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Spain Approves 'Solidarity' Tax to Make Nation's Top 0.1% Pay a Fairer Share

The country's finance minister said that looming changes are bound to make the tax code "more progressive, efficient, fair, and also enough to guarantee social justice and economic efficiency."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Time to Take to the Streets': Working Class Hold 'Enough Is Enough' Rallies Across UK

"Does a CEO need an extra zero at the end of their salary—or should nurses, posties, and teachers be able to heat their homes?" said one supporter ahead of the #EnoughIsEnough National Day of Action.

Julia Conley ·


Ukraine Responds to Putin Annexations With Fast-Track NATO Application

Lamenting the lack of any progress toward a diplomatic settlement, one anti-war campaigner asked: "Will the world stand idly by as we careen towards nuclear apocalypse?"

Jake Johnson ·


'Their Price Strategies Are Bearing Fruit': Oil and Coal Profits Surge 340%

A leading economist urged policymakers to "address corporate profiteering as a driver of inflation by reining in megacorporations and addressing the unsustainably high prices facing families around the country."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Don't Look Away': Tlaib Ties Death of 7-Year-Old Palestinian to US Aid to Israel

"$3.8 billion+ of our money is funding this. Enough. It must stop."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo