Thursday on CNN’s “Newsroom,” Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) refused several times to give President Donald Trump any credit for the progress made with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s willingness to negotiate on denuclearization.
Partial transcript as follows:
HARLOW: No doubt everyone would welcome the return of these American citizens, and let’s hope Rudy Giuliani is correct and they’re on their way home. If it happens, does the president deserve credit?
MEEKS: President Moon does, of South Korea.
HARLOW: Does President Trump deserve credit if these three Americans come home?
MEEKS: We want to make sure they come home. If anybody had anything to do with it, I’m happy. I want American citizens to come home. But when I look at the whole deal with North Korea, it seems to me that all of what was started was started with President Moon. And President Moon has been doing a lot of the negotiations and been talking to the North Koreans and talking to the Chinese behind the scenes and trying to work to make this happen because he knew when he heard President Trump say that President Trump would not go back to South Korea if he decided to attack North Korea, that’s when the negotiations start taking place with North Korea. He left, he went to North Korea —
HARLOW: President Moon said President Trump deserves a lot of credit.
BERMAN: Even in your interpretation of it, President Trump didn’t get in the way, doesn’t he deserve credit for being part of this atmosphere where these three Americans might come home and these talks might happen?
MEEKS: I’m glad, if we get our American detainees home, it’s a positive thing and a number of individuals can take credit.
BERMAN: Is he one of them?
MEEKS: But I am saying that if you talk about the whole North Korea/South Korea peace, the reason we are where we are is President Moon.
HARLOW: It seems like you’re doing everything you can to say not the president deserves credit. I’m wondering if you think he’s not doing—is he doing a better job for instance, than the Obama administration did or the Bush administration or the Clinton administration handling North Korea right now?
MEEKS: And that’s why I wanted to be clear in regards to, opposed to saying just because of these three, the whole scenario with North Korea and South Korea, it started with—President Moon got elected based upon the fact that he wanted a better relationship with North Korea, and he went about doing it at the same time that President Trump was calling him rocket man, et cetera. And the key in the change of direction with North Korea was when, you know, President Moon said to his people, President Trump would not do anything against us and he said, well I don’t have to go to South Korea to get approval to strike North Korea and that seemed to be the point where things started to change. Moon went over and started having dialogue —
BERMAN: But even then President Trump was a part of that equation, I will note that.
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