Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who attended a White House meeting on North Korea Wednesday, all-but-verified that the gathering was for show. On CNN’s “Erin Burnett Out Front,” the Democratic senator told the host that lawmakers “learned nothing [about North Korea] you couldn’t read in the newspaper.”
Donald Trump invited 100 senators to attend a classified briefing at 3p.m. today, bussing in the lawmakers from Capitol Hill to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building auditorium. Several senators who attended said the president discussed issues they were already aware of from the press.
“Why do you think he had you come to the White House for this?” Burnett asked.
“Oh, complete optics,” Merkley said. “Giving him a chance to say he considers it important enough to have us come to the White house.”
Merkley noted that given the stakes, one could have anticipated that Trump would present a strategy for dealing with North Korea (particularly since—as Vice President Mike Pence noted—“The era of strategic patience is over”).
“They’re not willing to share that yet,” Merkley said. “So we learned nothing you couldn’t read in a newspaper.”
Watch the video below, via CNN:
Sen. Jeff Merkley on the North Korea meeting at the WH: “We learned nothing you couldn’t read in the newspaper” https://t.co/JZD5Zw4xOx
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 26, 2017