Pelosi: Kim 'big winner' of North Korea talks

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse passes bill aimed at bolstering Holocaust education Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — NFL social media accounts hacked | Dem questions border chief over controversial Facebook group | Clinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views Meadows: Republicans who break with Trump could face political repercussions MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE's high-profile summit with Kim Jong Un was a diplomatic flop, empowering the North Korean leader at the expense of America's global standing.

"He was the big winner, Kim Jong Un, in getting to sit face-to-face with the most powerful person in the world, the president of the United States," Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. "And really it's good that the president did not give him anything for the little that [Kim] was proposing."

ADVERTISEMENT

Staged in Hanoi, Vietnam, over the last two days, the Trump-Kim summit ended abruptly Thursday morning when the talks broke down over the topic of U.S. sanctions on North Korea.

Trump said Kim had demanded that all U.S. sanctions be lifted, even before North Korea would commit to dismantling all of its nuclear weapons capabilities.

"Sometimes you have to walk," Trump said at a press conference in Hanoi. "This was just one of those times."

Pelosi praised Trump's decision to abandon the talks when it became clear that Kim would not meet the president's demands for complete denuclearization.

"I guess it took two meetings for him to realize that Kim Jong Un is not on the level," Pelosi said.

"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, and, as you know, they wanted lifting sanctions without the denuclearization," she continued. "I'm glad that the president walked away from that."

While in Hanoi, Trump drew criticism from both parties when he said Kim had denied any role in the death of Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who was detained in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2016 and died after being returned to the U.S. in a comatose state a year later.

"I will take him at his word," Trump said of Kim's claim to noninvolvement in Warmbier's treatment. "He knew the case very well. But he knew it later."

The backlash was immediate, with a number of Republicans joining Democrats in condemning Trump's decision to take the side of a leader with a long, violent history of suppressing dissent.

"Americans know the cruelty that was placed on Otto Warmbier by the North Korean regime," Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyIs Mike Pence preparing to resign, assume the presidency, or both? Judd Apatow urges Georgia voters to get rid of Doug Collins after 'terrorists' comment Nikki Haley: Democratic leadership, 2020 Dems are the only people mourning Soleimani death MORE, Trump's former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted Thursday.

Pelosi said she hadn't heard Trump's remarks on the Warmbier tragedy. But she questioned more generally why the president would choose to believe figures like Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom she characterized as "thugs."

"The president has believed Putin as opposed to believing his own intelligence leadership," Pelosi said, referring to Moscow's interference in the 2016 elections.

"So, again, I didn't know the president had said that, but it's strange," she continued. "And I don't know — there's something wrong with Putin, Kim Jong Un, in my view, thugs, that the president chooses to believe."