WASHINGTON, DC – Today, as details about the Trump-Kim summit continue to emerge
and North Korean state media broadcast its first behind-the-scenes video of
President Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI),
Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following
“There is nothing wrong with trying diplomacy
when it comes to North Korea. The Administration rightly changed course
and pursued diplomatic engagement over social media insults. But
President Trump is like a weak student who refuses to do his homework and
conduct himself in a manner befitting the President of the United States.
His glib comments regarding human rights and pattern of praise for
authoritarian leaders is troubling.
“Clearly, President Trump is more concerned
with showmanship than policy and statesmanship. But he needs to
understand his weaknesses and words have serious, long-term repercussions for
the strength of America. When he described U.S. military joint exercises
with South Korea as “war games” and “provocative,” he used North Korea’s
preferred propaganda term to describe America’s actions and gave the Chinese
government a win. It is unclear if his announcement to cancel the joint
exercises was made impulsively, or if he simply failed to consult with our
allies, who were caught off guard by the decision.
“His staff and cabinet officials are doing
their best, but there is a good deal of alarm and confusion within the
President’s own national security team whenever he goes off script, which seems
to happen frequently. It is difficult to achieve diplomatic progress when
the highest ranking person in the room keeps blowing it.
“Additionally, when President Trump makes a
patently false claims like his tweet that: “There is no longer a Nuclear
Threat from North Korea.” -- it remains unclear if he is deliberately
trying to mislead the American people, or does he simply not grasp the
issues? Let’s be very clear since the President seems unable to be: North
Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs are very real and will remain
until they are irreversibly destroyed.
“Claiming you’re tough isn’t the same thing as
actually being tough and winning an enforceable and verifiable denuclearization
“The fact is President Trump made several
major concessions to the North Korans and got no real value in return beyond a
series of personal photo ops with a dictator and the hope that North Korea will
do the right thing at some point.
“If President Trump doesn’t step up and
improve coordination with his own staff and our loyal allies, I fear he will
keep handing victories to North Korea and do a real disservice to the security
of America and our allies.”