Politicians from North Dakota and Minnesota show divide over Trump’s leadership during recent events with tweets addressing North Korea, the political rift with Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and the conflict with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Reports were released that Secretary Tillerson called President Trump a “moron,” and leading the president to tweet, “(Tillerson) is wasting his time trying to negotiate with (Kim Jong-un)” and stating further that he will do what has to be done — showing an increasing conflict between the two.
The president’s remarks on North Korea, displaying a more assertive role than the diplomatic efforts being pursued by Tillerson, once again suggest the president’s intentions of increased military engagement rather than negotiations.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), in an interview with The New York Times, expressed his worry over President Trump’s leadership style and that his comments and actions are risking “World War III.” Corker attributes his behavior to that of reality television, “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.” According to Corker, “nearly every” Republican feels as he does.
Trump then took to Twitter to criticize Corker, who recently announced that he would not run for re-election, saying that Corker “begged (Trump) to endorse him for re-election” and that Corker asked to be his Secretary of State.
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), in a statement with the Forum, said though he “might use different terminology,” the president’s consideration of military options compliments good diplomacy, recognizing that with military engagement all options are on the table.
“I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says or the way he says it. But I think the overall strategy is the right strategy,” Hoeven said. “I think the president’s on the right agenda … We’re trying to do tax relief and tax reform, and so we need Sen. Corker and others to get on board so we can get it done for our economy, job creating, help people keep more of their earnings.”
Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), in an interview Monday, blamed North Korea’s rise as a threat on previous policy in past administrations. Cramer said he believes, “There’s a much stronger strategy in play than (Trump is) given credit for.”
In regard to President Trump’s treatment of senior public officials, Cramer expressed discontent. “Do I occasionally have some concern about that? Yes I do,” Cramer said. “His greatest asset is the people who have supported him to get here.”
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) released a statement that outlined her vision for North Korean diplomacy.
“The U.S. needs to use an approach that draws on our military, diplomatic, and economic strengths, which is what I’ve been working to do by pressing on Cabinet secretaries for solutions, urging the administration to appoint a special envoy to the region, working to pass legislation that increases sanctions on North Korea, and maintaining a strong nuclear deterrent at Minot Air Force Base,” the statement said.
In Minnesota, Sen. Al Franken and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the two Democratic senators for the state, offered responses to questions from the Forum.
“I’m disappointed that President Trump is continuing to use tweets to spout off divisive rhetoric to criticize my colleagues and recklessly provoke nuclear-armed adversaries like North Korea,” Franken said in a statement.
“We must approach North Korea with calculated strength and resolve. The threat is very serious and something we should not take lightly… Our strategy should be to use tough sanctions to drive North Korea to the negotiating table. Pressuring China — which accounts for 90 percent of North Korea’s trade — is a critical part of that effort,” Klobuchar said in a statement.