GOP Armed Services senator breaks with Trump: I find North Korean missile tests 'very disturbing'

GOP Armed Services senator breaks with Trump: I find North Korean missile tests 'very disturbing'
© Getty Images

Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstAir Force probe finds no corroboration of sexual assault allegations against Trump pick Gun control activists set to flex muscle in battle for Senate Businesses, farmers brace for new phase in Trump trade war MORE (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Armed Services committee, broke with President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE on Sunday over North Korean missile tests.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Ernst said she finds recent missile tests from the regime “very disturbing” and warned that she wouldn’t trust North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnHong Kong protests present Trump, Xi with painful choices North Korea launches missile tests, insults South Korean president Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE.

“I find them very disturbing, and certainly wouldn’t trust Kim Jong Un,” Ernst said. “I think we need to keep our eyes on North Korea, I understand the president wants to maintain a relationship … so that we can work with them. However, those strikes are disturbing.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The comments come in response to a Saturday tweet from Trump in which the president dismissed concerns about missile tests and said he has confidence in Kim.

"North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me," he tweeted. "I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me."

When asked whether she found Trump’s comments, made while in Japan for a diplomatic visit, disturbing, Ernst on Sunday replied: “Certainly.”

“I think Japan does have reason to be concerned, and I am concerned as well,” the senator said. “We need to see north Korea back off of those activities, and we need to take a very strong stance on that.

Ernst added that she understands Trump “has a job to do on negotiating,” but urged for a stronger “pushback” on North Korea to ensure that the regime is following United Nations guidelines prohibiting it from firing ballistic missiles.

“We can’t continue to let them further develop any type of weapons systems,” she said.

Trump has touted his friendly relationship with Kim as a step toward denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, but after two in-person summits, the two leaders have failed to reach a deal on nuclear negotiations and sanctions.