Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Thursday that President Donald Trump should not praise North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un for returning Korean War remains, especially as questions abound on denuclearization.
“This is something that should have been done at the end of the Korean War,” Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican and Air Force veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, told Poppy Harlow on CNN. “America has always held that we leave nobody behind.
“I’m uncomfortable with tweeting praises to chairman Kim.”
Trump early Thursday lauded Kim for “keeping your word and starting the process of sending home the remains of our great and beloved missing fallen.”
Thank you to Chairman Kim Jong Un for keeping your word & starting the process of sending home the remains of our great and beloved missing fallen! I am not at all surprised that you took this kind action. Also, thank you for your nice letter – l look forward to seeing you soon!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2018
He also thanked the dictator for the “nice letter” Trump received last month.
Kinzinger, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that Trump’s tweets, rhetoric and other actions will affect the ultimate goal of negotiations with Pyongyang, which is denuclearization.
“When you look at this process that’s going to be laid out, in terms of whether we actually get to a denuclearized North Korea, all of these actions — tweets, maneuvers, everything — will be judged on what the end result is.
“In the moment, there’s going to be things we’re uncomfortable with, things the North Koreans are uncomfortable with.
“Hopefully, we see a denuclearized verifiable north Korea.”
In a later interview with Fox News, Kinzinger said the United States must show “tough love, tough affection or whatever” to Turkey and President Tayyip Erdogan for refusing to release jailed American pastor Andrew Brunson.
The Trump administration slapped sanctions Wednesday on two Turkish officials, citing Brunson’s “unfair and unjust detention.”
“They are in a very bad place,” Kinzinger told Fox host Sandra Smith.
“The United States has to show — I don’t know if it’s tough love, tough affection or whatever to Turkey — but saying you aren’t going to walk on the [NATO] alliance and us anymore and not abuse American citizens.
“Release this pastor, he added. “He is being held as a bargaining chip — and we will not stand for that.”
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