President Trump’s historic North Korean breakthrough yesterday has put one of his biggest critics, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in an awkward position, as just the day before, the Washington Examiner published an interview in which the outgoing Senator skeptically claimed that only a military strike could stop North Korea from obtaining nuclear weapons, and declared “that’s just not a good option.”
While its specifics have yet to be finalized, President Trump’s planned meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will undoubtedly go down as a landmark moment in United States foreign policy, as no sitting American President has ever met with a North Korean leader (Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton visited the country after they left office). And more importantly, Kim Jong Un has pledged to cease conducting nuclear tests and begin the denuclearzation process.
In fact, when the news broke earlier this week that North Korea sought a meeting with President Trump – two days before a top South Korean National Security Advisor announced that President Trump would accept the invitation – even some of the President’s harshest liberal critics praised the progress he was making on the issue. The Atlantic and Washington Post both noted how President Trump’s unique approach was putting new pressure on the communist country, and CNN’s Chris Cuomo publicly applauded it, telling his viewers: “Congratulations to the Trump administration; they were able to move the ball here.”
But Flake remained unimpressed, telling the Washington Examiner “This talk that we could somehow by threatening them or by sanctioning keep them from getting to a point where they sit down at the table as a legitimate nuclear threat was unreasonable, kidding ourselves.”
Flake continued on to falsely claim that “By the time we get down to sitting at the table with them and actually have negotiations, then, they may be all the way there [as a nuclear power].”
Flake, who pushed for closer relations with Cuba’s communist dictatorship under the Obama Administration and once praised Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe, has consistently doubted President Trump’s ability to negotiate with the North Korean government. In September, Flake told CNN that he is confident in the administration’s team, but not the President himself, remarking “Obviously, you’d like a leader that is measured and sober and consistent.”
Unsurprisingly, now that Trump has proven him wrong, Flake has refrained from repeating his skepticism on the Trump Administration’s efforts to prevent North Korea from getting nuclear weapons. Instead, the anti-Trump Senator has focused his efforts to obstruct the President’s agenda in other areas, promising to introduce a bill that would nullify the administration’s planned tariffs.
Stay tuned for more.
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