Politics & Policy

Trump and Schumer Escalate Spat over Iran, North Korea

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks at the Milken Institute 21st Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, April 30, 2018. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer harshly criticized President Trump’s most recent foreign-policy moves Thursday.

After the return of three American prisoners from North Korea Thursday, Trump thanked North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by name, and said Kim “really was excellent” to the prisoners. Schumer, the New York Democrat who took over as minority leader upon Senator Harry Reid’s retirement, blasted Trump’s conciliatory words.

“We can’t be fooled into giving the North Korean regime credit for turning (over) Americans that never should have been detained in the first place,” Schumer argued on the Senate floor Thursday morning. “It is so troubling to hear President Trump say that Kim Jong-un treated the Americans excellently.”

Schumer added that he thought the president’s comments had weakened America’s leverage ahead of his upcoming summit meeting with Kim, which is aimed at denuclearizing North Korea.

“We’re all rooting for diplomacy to succeed on the Korean Peninsula but we cannot sacrifice the safety of American citizens around the world in exchange for an illusory veneer of peace,” the senator said. “I worry that this president, in his eagerness to strike a deal and get the acclaim and a photo-op, will strike a quick one and a bad one, not a strong one.”

Schumer also slammed the president’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement earlier this week, even though Schumer opposed the deal when President Obama signed it in 2015.

“The right thing to do would have been to try to come up, with our allies, with an agreement on those issues and let the nuclear part of this continue as it is, because it’s not being violated in any way,” Schumer remarked to reporters.

Trump shot back at “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer” on Twitter, saying the senator “doesn’t really believe” the deal should have been salvaged.

In his snarky response, Schumer tweeted “Be Best,” making a play on the name of First Lady Melania Trump’s new anti-cyberbullying campaign.

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