Trump applauded for walking away from 'bad' North Korea deal

President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE on Thursday won praise from lawmakers in both parties after leaving a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un empty-handed, but also caught flak over his comments about the death of American college student Otto Warmbier.
 
"I think [Trump did] probably pleasantly surprise some people, that he wouldn't just get any deal that was on the table," Rep. Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotRepublican congressman hopes Trump crowd will avoid 'send her back' chants at Ohio rally Mueller declines to answer dozens of questions from lawmakers House passes annual intelligence bill MORE (R-Ohio) told Hill.TV in an interview. "He did the right thing. That doesn't mean there won't be a deal down the road."
 
Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingBipartisan panel to issue recommendations for defending US against cyberattacks early next year New intel chief inherits host of challenges Senators ask for committee vote on 'red flag' bills after shootings MORE (Maine), an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also said that Trump made the right decision to walk away from his second summit with Kim in Vietnam without signing a nuclear deal.
 
“Rather than make concessions in order to try to save face and call it a success, I think by walking away the North Koreans weren't cooperating and were asking for too much. I think that's the right – that's the right move now,” King, a frequent Trump critic, told Hill.TV.
 
Trump suffered a significant blow this week when his highly anticipated summit with Kim in Hanoi unexpectedly collapsed, with the commander-in-chief and self-stylized negotiator failing to secure a deal for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons after traveling halfway around the world for the talks.
 
The president asserted during a press conference that Pyongyang wanted all economic sanctions on the country to be lifted as part of a deal, while North Korean officials later said that they had only asked for partial sanctions relief.
 
Despite leaving the summit without a deal, Trump won praise from even Democratic leaders on Thursday who said that leaving without an agreement was better than the president agreeing to something that was not in the interests of the United States.
 
“What we want is denuclearization. They didn't agree to it in the first meeting. They didn't agree to it in the second meeting. They wanted lifting sanctions without denuclearization. I'm glad that the president walked away from that,” Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes Hobbled NRA shows strength with Trump MORE (D-Calif.) told reporters.
 
 
"I mean it's nice to keep contact with North Korea ... but I think that North Korea had 10 times more to gain by this summit than the United States," he said.
 
 
Cramer maintained that Trump "strengthens America's hand in doing exactly what he did – and he said it best and most eloquently. No deal is better than a bad deal."
 
However, while lawmakers applauded Trump for walking away from the summit, several also criticized his comments about Warmbier.
 
The University of Virginia student returned to his home state of Ohio in June 2017 in a coma after being imprisoned in North Korea for more than a year. He later died and his family called the 22-year olds death “murder” at the hands of the North Koreans.
 
Trump said Thursday after meeting with Kim that he took the North Korean leader at his word when he denied being responsible for the American college student's treatment in captivity.
 
Trump told reporters that Kim "feels badly about it … he tells me he didn’t know about it, and I take him at his word. … I don't believe he would have allowed that to happen."
 
 Chabot, whose district borders Warmbier’s hometown of Cincinnati, pushed back on the president's remarks, saying that the North Korean leader should be held responsible.
 
"I don't believe Kim didn't know about it,” Chabot, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said.
 
Asked if Kim should be held responsible, Chabot responded, “Absolutely, absolutely.” 
 
"I've met with Otto's parents and it’s an absolute travesty what the North Korean government did to that to that young man,” Chabot said. 
 
King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said it was naive to believe that Kim didn’t know about Warmbier’s situation.
 
“The idea that he didn't know about it or didn't have anything to do with that just doesn't pass the straight face test – a sparrow doesn't fall in that country without the dictator knowing what's happened,” the senator said. 
 
Leahy called it “inconceivable” that Kim wouldn’t know about Warmbier’s detention, adding, “In a country where [Kim] has such complete control and they are holding an American prisoner it's inconceivable that he didn't know.”
 
– Molly Hooper