Congress reacts to Trump canceling the summit with North Korea

Written by on May 24, 2018

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — In the wake of President Donald Trump’s cancellation of a planned nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, members of Congress were quick to play the blame game.

Some members of Congress lauded Trump, saying he made the right decision to call off the summit if North Korea did not intend on getting rid of its nuclear weapons, while others blamed Trump for his “amateur” antics and lack of preparation.

“My understanding is it’s been difficult to communicate with them over the last short period of time; maybe Kim Jong Un is having some second thoughts,” said Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Thursday morning. “There’s been some feelings recently that maybe they were not sure — maybe not quite ready, if you will — on the North Korean side to have this kind of meeting. We need to make sure if we’re going to have this meeting, it’s going to be productive.”

The House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., said in a statement that the administration should continue to apply diplomatic pressure on North Korea.

“Our goal is to peacefully end North Korea’s nuclear threats. The administration should continue to look for opportunities while applying maximum diplomatic and financial pressure against Kim Jong Un. Our allies — including South Korea and Japan — need to stand with the United States. There can be no daylight between us,” Royce said in a statement.

Some Democrats criticized the president, saying the decision showed that he was not prepared to deal with the tactics of Kim Jong Un.

Sen. Bob Menendez, ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters that Trump had failed at the art of diplomacy.

“The art of diplomacy is a lot harder than the art of the deal,” Menendez said.

“Look, I have said all along that it is a lack of a strategy, and deep preparation that is needed before you agree to entering such a high-profile summit. So Kim Jong Un already received some of what he wanted in recognition that he could be seen as reasonable. And it’s amazing to me that this administration is somehow shocked that the North Koreans are acting as North Korea acts,” he said.

Sen. Rand Paul blamed the canceled summit on the “bombastic rhetoric” coming from both Trump and Kim Jong Un. The Kentucky Republican said that if we “dialed the rhetoric down and try to have normal diplomatic language between the countries, we might have a better chance of having a summit.”

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