Schumer: Trump's handling of North Korea 'all wrong'
© Greg Nash
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate Democrats should stop playing politics on Kavanaugh Montana GOP Senate hopeful touts Trump's support in new ad Strong job growth drives home choice for voters this election MORE (D-N.Y.) sharply criticized on Friday President Trump's handling of North Korea, arguing that he's relying too much on China to solve the problem.
 
A day earlier, in an interview with Reuters, Trump said there is potential for "a major, major conflict" if North Korea refuses to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
 
"I don't think those were the right words, but even more so I think he's handling it all wrong," Schumer told CNN. "The only way to really stop North Korea from doing what it's doing, short of war, is to get China to fully cooperate."
 
He added that if he wants China to help pressure North Korea to back away from its nuclear program, he could use trade as leverage. 
 
"Trade is their mother's milk," Schumer said. "So when the president is sort of nice to them and says he's backing off without doing anything, they're not going to help him on North Korea. They're not going to help us on trade."
 
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Trump said during the campaign that he would label China as a currency manipulator but backed away from that pledge, a move that earned him the ire of Democrats, including Schumer. 
 
Pressed on why China would help with North Korea if Trump slapped with them the label, he argued China would know "they couldn't push America around anymore."  
 
"The great negotiator, I think, is not negotiating very well on this," he said. 
 
Senators got a closed-door briefing on North Korea this week with top administration officials, including a brief appearance by Trump. Some senators said after the briefing that they expected China would be more cooperative on North Korea.
 
Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzMellman: Two worlds — Online and off GOP pollster: Trump dominates political rivals vying for media attention Cruz challenger O'Rourke launching .27M TV ad buy focusing on 'positive' message MORE (R-Texas) said he was “cautiously optimistic that we are seeing early signs that China is helping and cooperating and reining in North Korea. ... Time will tell.”