Three GOP presidential candidates are criticizing former President Donald Trump over his decision to congratulate dictator Kim Jong-un after North Korea got a seat on the World Health Organization’s executive board.
“Congratulations to Kim Jung [sic] Un!” Mr. Trump wrote on his Truth Social page, sparking a round of weekend rebukes from contenders who will try to catch the front-runner over the next year.
“I was surprised to see that,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told Fox News on Saturday. “I mean I think, one, I think Kim Jong-un is a murderous dictator.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence told the outlet that WHO let the world down in the early days of the pandemic. But he said no one should be praising a dictator.
“Whether it’s my former running mate or anyone else, nobody should be praising the dictator in North Korea or praising the leader in Russia, who has launched an unprovoked war of aggression in Ukraine,” Mr. Pence said. “This is a time when we ought to make it clear to the world that we stand for freedom and we stand with those who stand for freedom.”
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said, “You don’t congratulate a thug.”
“This is not something to play with, [Mr. Kim is] a terrible individual, he’s terrible to his people,” the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. said.
As president, Mr. Trump tried to play nice with Mr. Kim, an isolated dictator who has threatened the U.S. through missile launches, by holding a pair of high-profile summits to get North Korea to wind down its nuclear ambitions and open up to the world.
The summits failed to bear fruit, but Mr. Trump insisted that trying to negotiate with Mr. Kim, who bristles at U.S. sanctions on his country, was the right move.
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