President Trump met Kim Jong Un at the North Korean border on Sunday, and became the first sitting American president to step in to the nation. But in the hours after the unexpected meeting, some U.S. lawmakers – including some 2020 Democratic presidential candidates – questioned how productive that meeting was in efforts to reach a nuclear deal.
“This country is no safer when it comes to North Korea,” said former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
“He keeps having these summits and meetings that really don’t produce anything,” said Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
So far, there has been no tangible progress towards a denuclearization deal: The two sides are simply back to the negotiating table after talks broke down earlier this year. Meanwhile, North Korea has continued to produce nuclear material for weapons.
“We’ve agreed that we’re each going to designate a team, and the team will try and work out some details, and again, speed is not the object. We want to see if we can do a really comprehensive good deal,” Mr. Trump said. While the sanctions against North Korea are still in place, he left open the possibility of scaling them back.
The impromptu meeting unfolded after Mr. Trump tweeted an invite to the North Korean leader the day before. CBS News has learned that the president didn’t give his staff much notice about the tweet invitation, but that he has been trying to replicate what South Korean president Moon Jae-in did when he met Kim at the DMZ last year. North Korean state-run media called the Kim-Trump meeting an “amazing event.”
But that meeting wasn’t the only dramatic moment. New White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham was bruised after getting into a scuffle with North Korean security guards who appeared to be blocking American reporters from the meeting room where the two leaders spoke privately for nearly an hour.
The first meeting with North Korean officials is expected to happen in the next few weeks. President Trump made it clear that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be his chief negotiator, despite the fact that North Korea previously demanded Pompeo be removed from the talks. Mr. Trump also said he would invite Kim to the White House, but so far has offered no details.