Trump Must Show Resolve, Caution With North Korea: U.S. Republicans

If U.S. President Donald Trump believes his meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un was “a very great moment in the history of the world,” leaders from his own Republican Party were much more skeptical on Tuesday after the summit.

They widely praised Trump for taking the bold step of sitting down to talk with Kim, but voiced concern about the vagueness of the agreement that resulted and the president’s lavish praise for the North Korean leader.

In much more measured tones than the president’s ebullience about the meeting, Republican lawmakers urged Trump to be vigilant in moving forward.

For Trump, with congressional elections approaching in November and Republican majority control of both chambers of the U.S. Congress at stake, the fast-evolving relationship with Kim presents both political opportunity and peril.

While it was difficult to tell immediately whether Trump’s performance in Singapore would influence congressional campaigns already underway, it was clear that Republicans were not fully embracing Trump’s enthusiasm for Kim.

Foreign policy can impact midterm elections for Congress, although domestic affairs more typically dominate such contests.

With months of protracted negotiations likely ahead, it was unclear whether Trump’s push on North Korea would boost Republicans’ standing in the midterms.

Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist in Washington, said Trump’s efforts could persuade uncommitted voters concerned with national security that Trump is trying to make the world safer.

“Meeting with North Korea is not going to hack off independent voters,” O’Connell said. “They’re going to look favorably on it.”

Read more from Patricia Zengerle and James Oliphant at Reuters

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