President Donald Trump has gone far above and beyond his predecessors in trying to make friends with the North Korean regime. But as Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" Monday, Trump's efforts are doing nothing for the United States or for international cooperation generally — they are just making Kim Jong-un stronger for no benefit whatsoever.
"Let's get to the other major news we're following right now," said Blitzer. "The president actually walking, taking a few steps into North Korea along the demilitarized zone. And it was very effusive, in his praise, he was very upbeat. What do you think he has to show for that?"
"Nothing," said Connolly, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "I mean, that is the sordid, sad fact about the Trump foreign policy. He has nothing to show for his engagement with Kim Jong-un. Kim Jong-un has a lot to show for it in terms of raising his stature. And evaluating the importance of North Korea, not only in the region, but frankly in the world."
"I think it is devastating to learn today from The New York Times that there was any discussion about anything short of complete denuclearization as the goal in our diplomacy with respect to North Korea," said Connolly. "And the irony of that is, here's the same president and administration who criticized the Iran nuclear agreement that rolled back Iran's nuclear capability, not froze it."
"Isn't it better to talk to adversaries and see if there can be some positive dialogue emerge, rather than snub them completely?" Blitzer pressed him.
"Yes. However, that has to be prepared for," said Connolly. "There has to be a set of goals. You've got to really do your homework and you don't put the credibility of the presidency on the line first. That's a reward once we've arrived at a certain juncture with respect to the negotiations. And we're now seeing the damage this impulsive sort of off-the-cuff kind of foreign policy is doing."