Dems rip Trump concessions, ’embarrassing’ rhetoric with Kim
Democrats are calling President Trump’s praise of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “embarrassing” while criticizing him for offering concessions in exchange of vague promises from Pyongyang.
“In his haste to reach an agreement, President Trump elevated North Korea to the level of the United States while preserving the regime’s status quo,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a scathing statement.
She said Trump had handed Kim concessions in return for “vague promises” and no “clear and comprehensive pathway to denuclearization and non-proliferation.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) also ripped Trump, saying on the Senate floor that the U.S. has “legitimized a brutal dictator.”
“It is worrisome, very worrisome that this joint statement is so imprecise,” Schumer said. “What the U.S. has gained is vague and unverifiable at best. What North Korea has gained, however, is tangible and lasting … We’ve legitimized a brutal dictator who’s starved his own people,” Schumer said.
Other Democrats were even harsher in their criticism.
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said Trump’s actions represented “an abdication of American leadership.”
“Just embarrassing,” Schatz (D-Hawaii) wrote in a tweet.
This is an abdication of American leadership. Just embarrassing. https://t.co/G6uCVSvj2E
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) June 12, 2018
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) were incredulous over Trump’s choice of words.
Pointing to North Korea’s long record of abusing its own citizens, Cohen questioned how Trump could talk of Kim loving his country.
Loves it so much that he has them impoverished and enslaved except for those he murders.Loves his country? https://t.co/i762TPmKxT
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) June 12, 2018
Murphy said Trump was legitimizing North Korea’s human rights abuses and faulted Trump for agreeing to end military exercises or “war games” with South Korea while talks with the North continue.
“U.S. gives up one of our biggest negotiating chips – military exercises. North Korea ends up BACKTRACKING on previous promises on denuclearization. What the hell?” Murphy tweeted.
Kim’s gulags, public executions, planned starvation, are legitimized on the world stage.
U.S. gives up one of our biggest negotiating chips – military exercises.
North Korea ends up BACKTRACKING on previous promises on denuclearization.
What the hell?
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 12, 2018
Trump after the summit called Kim a “very talented man” who “loves his country very much,” adding that it was an “honor” to meet the North Korean leader.
“A worthy negotiator … a very worthy, very smart negotiator. We had a terrific day and we learned a lot about each other and our countries,” Trump said.
The president’s remarks were surely intended to set the table for fruitful negotiations aimed at denuclearizing North Korea, but they left him open to charges of hypocrisy given his own tough past rhetoric toward Kim.
U.S. college student Otto Warmbier died last year after being abused during a 17-month detention in North Korea.
But when he was asked about human rights abuses on Tuesday, Trump downplayed them, saying abuses happen in “a lot of places.”
“I believe it’s a rough situation over there,” Trump said during a press conference. “It’s rough in a lot of places, by the way, not just there.”