Democratic presidential candidates slam Trump for North Korea visit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands as they meet at the Freedom House on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, which separates the two Koreas, on Sunday. Photo by Yonhap

June 30 (UPI) — Several 2020 presidential candidates criticized President Donald Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un in North Korea as a dangerous and one-sided gesture.

Trump and Kim hailed their positive relationship on Sunday and Trump said negotiation teams would be “working to see whether or not they can do something” over the next few weeks, but Democrats questioned whether meaningful change could be achieved.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign spokesman Andrew Bates released a statement Sunday criticizing Trump of “fawning” over Kim and joking with Russian President Vladimir Putin about U.S. election security and “getting rid of” journalists.

“President Trump’s coddling of dictators at the expense of American national security and interests is one of the most dangerous ways he’s diminishing us on the world stage and subverting our values as a nation,” Bates said.

During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said that Trump has a history of holding summits with foreign leaders where “nothing really comes out of it.”

“Of course as a country we want this to work, we want to see denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, a reduction in these missiles. But it is not as easy as just going and bringing a hot dish over the fence to the dictator next door,” she said. “This is a ruthless dictator and when you go forward, you have to have clear focus and a clear mission and clear goals. And that has been our problem so far.”

On the same program, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro said Trump has approached past meetings with Kim and other leaders “very haphazardly” and planned this meeting “at the last minute.”

“The problem with that is that, to be effective, this usually goes the other way around,” the candidate said. “There is a lot of staff work that goes into preparing a meeting like this, so that concrete terms are on the table and you can get something out of this meeting.”

Castro also noted North Korea hadn’t fulfilled a promise to produce an inventory of their weapons stockpile as agreed upon during a previous summit between the two leaders in Singapore.

“I’m not quite sure why this president is so bent on elevating the profile of a dictator like Kim Jong Un when Kim Jong Un has not lived up to his promise from the first summit,” he said.

Appearing on ABC News’ This Week, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Trump’s past negotiations have been compromised by “incredible inconsistencies” and described Sunday’s meeting as a “photo opportunity.”

“The whole world’s media was attracted there,” Sanders said. “What’s going to happen tomorrow and the next day? He has weakened the State Department. If we’re going to bring peace to this world we need a strong State Department.”

Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas described Trump’s foreign policy as “bizarre” and said it has left the United States no safer from threats from North Korea on CBS’ Face the Nation.

“They have removed none of their nuclear weapons or their potential to deliver them to the United States and in fact, in contravention of the United Nations they have launched their missiles flouting the diplomacy that this president has attempted so far. So, we’ve added legitimacy to Kim Jong Un,” he said.


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