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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails 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 ChabotConsequential GOP class of 1994 all but disappears Judiciary approves new investigative powers with eyes on impeachment Republicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea 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."
 
 
“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 PelosiOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Four companies reach 0M settlement in opioid lawsuit | Deal opens door to larger settlements | House panel to consider vaping tax | Drug pricing markup tomorrow Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails Trump urges GOP to fight for him 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.
 
GOP Sens. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSenate GOP braces for impeachment trial 'roller coaster' Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes MORE (Mo.) and Kevin CramerKevin John CramerLawmakers toast Greta Van Susteren's new show Maryland manufacturers are stronger with the Export-Import Bank White House officials stand by Syria withdrawal, sanctions delay amid bipartisan pushback MORE (N.D.) also said in interviews that lifting sanctions on Pyongyang without securing major change regarding its nuclear ambitions would have been a mistake. 
 
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