This Sunday, 2020 Democratic presidential candidates criticized President Trump’s latest overture to North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, saying the leaders’ meeting lacked substance and elevated a ruthless dictator.
Meanwhile, President Trump became the first U.S. President to step on North Korean soil and surprised to pull off talks with Kim in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas.
The meeting, which happened at President Trump’s last-minute invitation, drew praise from many including Pope Francis as a step toward peace.
Critics called the meeting a publicity stunt and claimed that President Trump wasted an important symbolic move when there has been little sign that North Korea has taken meaningful steps toward denuclearization.
A number of Democrats running to replace President Trump in the White House stated that there was nothing wrong with talking to U.S. adversaries including Kim, as Reuters reported.
This round of talks however, they claimed, should have followed intense preparations and substantive progress by North Korea on the nuclear issue.
“Our President shouldn’t be squandering American influence on photo ops and exchanging love letters with a ruthless dictator,” U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren posted on Twitter.
Her 2020 rival Bernie Sanders did not fault President Trump for meeting with Kim.
“But I don’t want it simply to be a photo opportunity, the whole world’s media was attracted there,” Bernie Sanders said. “What’s going to happen tomorrow and the next day?”
President Trump has weakened the State Department at a time when Washington D.C. needs to diplomatically move forward toward peace, Sanders said.
While there is nothing wrong with talking to adversaries, Democratic candidate Julian Castro said. President Trump has raised the profile of a dictator by meeting with Kim 3 times so far with nothing to show for it, according to Julian Castro, U.S. housing secretary under President Barack Obama, and former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke.
North Korea didn’t fulfill it’s commitments made in previous summits with President Trump and intense preparations should have been made before the leaders met again to ensure progress, they said.
“He’s doing it backward,” Julian Castro said.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s spokesman said that President Trump was “coddling” dictators at the expense of U.S. national security.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar noted that North Korea launched missiles into the sea just last month, showing the need for the U.S. to go into such talks armed with a clear mission and clear goals. “It is not as easy as just going and bringing a hot dish over the fence to the dictator next door,” she said.
The Democrat candidates shared their comments on CNN’s “State of the Union,” ABC’s “This Week” and CBS’ “Face the Nation.”