Rep. Gregory Meeks (D., N.Y.) refused to give President Donald Trump any credit Thursday for the state of negotiations with North Korea, instead focusing his praise on South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
CNN’s Poppy Harlow brought up the pending release of detained U.S. citizens in North Korea, which the administration has said is "imminent," and Meeks said the credit for their release goes to Moon. Harlow and John Berman repeatedly asked Meeks why he would not commend Trump’s actions at all, but the congressman maintained Moon is the driving force of the negotiations.
"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," Meeks said.
Meeks went on to explain how Moon has communicated behind the scenes with the North and with China, but he failed to mention the U.S. has also been in communication with those countries and has put pressure on North Korea with sanctions.
Harlow brought up the fact that Moon has given Trump credit for the negotiations, and Berman inquired whether Trump deserves credit for the atmosphere that is forcing North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to the table. Meeks granted that "a number of individuals can take credit," but would not say Trump was one of those individuals.
"If you talk about whole the North Korea-South Korea peace, the reason why we are where we are is President Moon," Meeks said.
"It seems like you're doing everything you can to not say the president deserves credit," Harlow replied. "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 did not answer the question, preferring to describe how Moon has taken the lead in starting a "dialogue" with the North.
"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 [Kim] ‘rocket man,’" Meeks said.
The hosts asked Meeks a total six times whether Trump deserved any credit for the negotiations. After Meeks answered for the final time, Berman noted "Trump was part of the equation."