Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.) on Thursday blamed President Donald Trump's "impulsive behavior" and his White House advisers for torpedoing the planned June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Trump called off the meeting in an open letter to Kim earlier on Thursday, citing the "tremendous anger and open hostility "recently displayed by the North Korean regime. The two leaders had planned for months to meet over what the Trump administration hoped would be North Korea's full denuclearization, in exchange for what Trump characterized as security and prosperity.
"It's unfortunate," Swalwell said on MSNBC. "I think talking is better than walking away, but the president was rehearsing his end zone dance, and we weren't even at the 50-yard line yet on this summit."
Swalwell characterized Vice President Mike Pence's recent remarks on the summit as "de-nuke or die" and said they were not "helpful." North Korea condemned Pence for saying North Korea could face a fate similar to Libya if it failed to make a nuclear deal.
"I hope we can get back to having a summit. I will give the president praise for even getting us this far, but I think it was his own impulsive behavior and his advisers who have now set us back," Swalwell said.
The cancellation of the meeting is the latest chapter in the volatile relationship between Trump and Kim, who went from exchanging harsh insults and threats last year to rapidly warming relations beginning in March.
"We don't want war with North Korea," Swalwell said. "We need cooler heads to prevail and stick to the strategy of applying pressure and getting them to the table."
The congressman also predicted the cancellation could hurt Trump's popularity at home, if it seemed the U.S. was returning to an aggressive posture toward North Korea.