Some Democratic Senators have offered hesitant praise of CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who is awaiting confirmation as the next secretary of state, for his recent meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Sens. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) both appeared on MSNBC where they were glad the Trump administration was laying the groundwork for a potential summit between Kim and President Donald Trump, the Washington Post reports.
"I’m glad that there’s some preparatory work happening for this potential summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un," Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said. "I’m very worried that this summit is going to go very badly ... but I think we should all admit that it’s good, not bad, that the Trump administration is trying to do some work ahead of this meeting, perhaps setting the stage for success rather than failure."
"The preparation, certainly, is welcome — there’s no way that Donald Trump should go into that meeting without a lot of groundwork being laid," Blumenthal said.
Blumenthal added, however, he thought Pompeo, as the current CIA Director, was "the wrong person to be engaging in diplomacy."
Trump nominated Pompeo on March 13 to be his next secretary of state. He faces opposition from a number of Senate Democrats, including Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.), the number two Democrat. The Post reports:
But for other Democrats who supported Pompeo in the past, the revelation that he is already conducting high-level diplomacy for the Trump administration could be the cover they need to back his bid to lead the State Department.
"What people may not have realized is that for years, we have kept back channels to North Korea through intelligence . . . it’s perfectly natural, then, that he would be the person to have the first meeting and sit down," Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Wednesday at a media breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. He added that he did not believe the North Korea trip would negatively affect Pompeo’s chances at confirmation.
"It’s hard to say that Pompeo is not qualified," Corker argued, saying that many Democrats were trying to block Pompeo’s confirmation simply because they see him as a proxy for opposing Trump.
House Democratic members too were glad to see the news of Pompeo's secretive trip to North Korea.
"I think it’s good news for diplomacy," Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) said of the meeting.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to vote on Pompeo’s nomination next week.