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 ErnstMcConnell tightlipped as impeachment furor grows Iowa Democrat tops Ernst in third-quarter fundraising for Senate race The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — Trump, Republicans dig in against impeachment MORE (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Armed Services committee, broke with President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani says he is unaware of reported federal investigation Louisiana's Democratic governor forced into runoff Lawmakers focus their ire on NBA, not China 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 UnStockholm breakdown reflects North Korea's failure to compromise In Syria, making America ashamed again — and weaker To tame America: Kim Jong Un's stealth mind tricks 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.