U.S. candidates running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Sunday criticized President Donald Trump’s latest overture to North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, saying the leaders’ meeting lacked substance and elevated a ruthless dictator.
The Republican Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to step into North Korea on Sunday, drawing on his penchant for showmanship and surprise to pull off talks with Kim in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas.
The meeting, at 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 Trump wasted an important symbolic move when there has been little sign that North Korea has taken meaningful steps toward denuclearization.
A number of Democrats vying to replace Trump in the White House in the 2020 election said there was nothing wrong with talking to U.S. adversaries including 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,” U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren said in a Twitter post.