GOP candidates slam Trump for praising Kim Jong Un

Several Republican presidential candidates have targeted former President Donald Trump for praising North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after the hermit kingdom was elected to the Executive Board of the World Health Organization last week.

“Congratulations to Kim Jung [sic] U.N!” Trump wrote Friday on his social media platform Truth Social.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who was US Ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump administration, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized Trump’s post at the GOP senator’s “Roast and Ride” event Joni Ernst on Saturday in Iowa.

“Kim Jong Un is a criminal and a bully, and he has tested ballistic missiles against our allies,” Haley told NBC News. “He threatened us. There is nothing to congratulate him on. I mean he was terrible to his people. He was horrible to America and we need to stop being nice to countries that hate America.”

DeSantis said he was “surprised” that Trump praised Kim, who he called a “homicidal dictator.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is expected to announce a presidential nomination this week, criticized Trump for congratulating Kim.

“Whether it’s my former vice president or anyone else, no one should praise the dictator in North Korea or the leader in Russia who launched an unprovoked war of aggression in Ukraine,” Pence said in a statement Saturday Interviewed by Fox News. “This is a time when we should make it clear to the world that we stand for freedom and stand with those who stand for freedom.”

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson also cheered on Trump tweet Saturday: “Kim Jong-Un, the tyrannical dictator in North Korea, should not be praised by Donald Trump for his leadership at the World Health Organization. We sanction leaders who oppress their people. We do not raise them to the world stage.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has excluded He ran for president but recently hosted a private donor meeting to raise money for Republican candidates and also joined the fight. “Taking back our country from Joe Biden doesn’t begin with congratulating North Korea’s murderous dictator.” he tweeted.

Kemp drew Trump’s ire after Trump refused to make unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in Georgia.

Trump’s campaign spokesman Steven Cheung attacked DeSantis in a statement, arguing that the event in Iowa, which Trump did not attend, would not affect Trump’s status as a front runner.

“President Trump achieved peace through strength and as a result no new wars were started under his presidency. On the other hand, Ron DeSantis is a puppet of the establishment warmongers and lacks the strength, steadfastness, or will to do so.” “Stand up against America’s opponents,” Cheung said. “In Iowa, there were far better candidates than DeSantis who didn’t come across as an awkward and wooden swamp-like Jeb Bush clone.”

He also praised Trump’s record on the economy, energy, southern border and foreign policy.

In 2019, Trump became the first sitting US President to set foot on North Korean soil since the 1953 armistice that divided the peninsula, having previously met with Kim twice.

During his presidency, Trump claimed that he did so “has developed a very, very good relationship” with Kim.

“We’ll see what that means,” Trump said in a speech to governors in February 2019. “But he’s never had a relationship with anyone from this country and hasn’t had many relationships anywhere.”

Kim also praised Trump in a letter to the White House ahead of a 2019 summit between them in Vietnam, making it clear that he only wanted to negotiate with Trump and not his envoys, current and former US officials said at the time.

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