Top Obama official: Trump let North Korea look like our equals

Top Obama official: Trump let North Korea look like our equals
© Getty Images

A former top diplomatic official for the Obama administration on Tuesday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump’s turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE granted Kim Jong Un more power than he deserved by flying the American and North Korean flags side-by-side over their recent summit. 

She also slammed Trump's team for not knowing "what they're doing."

Wendy Sherman, a former undersecretary of State for political affairs, said on MSNBC that she was "a little taken aback" by the backdrop when Trump first shook hands with Kim, a historic first for the leaders of the two countries, earlier on Tuesday. 

ADVERTISEMENT
"I was a little taken aback by the North Korean flags and the American flags side by side ... We aren't equals to each other," Sherman said. "This conferred power to Kim Jong Un that I don't think he has yet earned." 

Sherman's comments came only hours after Trump and Kim met for the first time. Trump announced afterward that the U.S. would put an end to its joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises while negotiations take place. He also mentioned that Pyongyang agreed to destroy a missile testing site and that he and Kim signed a joint statement in which the U.S. pledged to provide North Korea with “security guarantees” in exchange for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Sherman, like some other critics, criticized the agreement's lack of details. She added that many previous negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea included far more specifics. 

"As far as the agreement is concerned, I went back and looked at the previous agreements. The 1992 North-South agreement on joint declaration on denuclearization was very specific: no nukes, no facilities, inspections," Sherman said. "The agreed framework that was done in the Clinton administration was very specific: Close down the reactor until we get light water reactors."

Sherman added that what Assistant Secretary of State Christopher R. Hill did in 2005 was noteworthy, considering he asked for the "verifiable" denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. That deal later broke down over verification. 

"We have not only been here before, but we’ve been here before with much greater specificity," Sherman said. "So [Secretary of State] Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoRyan: 'The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally' Former CIA director Brennan urges Pompeo, Bolton, Kelly to resign following 'treasonous' Trump-Putin summit Mnuchin says US will consider Iran oil sanctions waivers: report MORE needs to go back and understand a little bit more about history and needs to go forward with a team that knows what they’re doing."