Democrats slam president over 'photo op with ruthless dictator'
US candidates running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination yesterday criticised President Donald Trump's latest meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying it lacked substance and elevated a ruthless dictator.
The meeting, at Mr Trump's last-minute invitation, drew praise from some including Pope Francis as a step toward peace.
Critics called it a publicity stunt and said Mr Trump wasted an important symbolic move when there has been little sign that North Korea has taken meaningful steps toward denuclearisation.
A number of Democrats vying to replace Mr Trump in the White House in the 2020 election said there was nothing wrong with talking to US adversaries, including Mr Kim.
This round of talks however, they said, 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," Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter.
Her 2020 rival and Senate colleague Bernie Sanders did not fault Mr Trump for meeting with Mr Kim.
"But I don't want it simply to be a photo opportunity, the whole world's media was attracted there," Mr Sanders said.
"What's going to happen tomorrow and the next day?"
A spokesman for former vice president Joe Biden said Mr Trump was "coddling" dictators at the expense of US national security.
Mr Trump has raised the profile of a dictator by meeting with Mr Kim three times now with nothing to show for it, according to Julian Castro, former US housing secretary under president Barack Obama, and former US Representative Beto O'Rourke.
"He's doing it backward," Mr Castro said.