Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement that he supports the goals released in the joint statement by the White House, but warned that if North Korea doesn’t follow through, the U.S. and its allies must impose “maximum pressure” on the regime.
“I remain supportive of the administration’s stated position, as Secretary Pompeo has reiterated: The goal of the United States is the, quote, ‘complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,’” McConnell said, referring to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Other top Republicans said they were unsure what tangible results the summit had produced.
“While I am glad the president and Kim Jong Un were able to meet, it is difficult to determine what of concrete nature has occurred,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Corker later told NBC News’ Kasie Hunt that he wants Pompeo to testify before his committee on the next steps in the process.
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., criticized the lack of detail and warned that it’s “possible to feed a shark,” but when you do it you have to be “very careful,” while Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters that the deal with North Korea is just an “agreement in principle,” and “not an agreement that can be enforced.”
Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement that Kim has “gained much from step one” — and that Congress has an important oversight role to play in the process.
“Throughout, we must press Beijing and others to continue complying fully with all sanctions against the North Korean regime. Kim Jong Un should not receive a dime of relief until he fully and verifiably denuclearizes,” Royce said.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday that he’s not convinced that pulling troops out of the Korean Peninsula is the right choice, but offered the proviso that he doesn’t receive the same intelligence as Trump.