President Trump suggested Monday that he was happy with coverage of his unscheduled trip to North Korea for an impromptu meeting with Kim Jong-un, despite the heavy criticism he received for it from Democrats.
Trump said it was 'great to call on' the North Korean leader before their 'very well covered meeting' in the demilitarized zone.
'Thank you to President Moon of South Korea for hosting the American Delegation and me immediately following the very successful G-20 in Japan. While there, it was great to call on Chairman Kim of North Korea to have our very well covered meeting. Good things can happen for all! ' he said.
President Trump suggested Monday that he was happy with coverage of his unscheduled trip to North Korea for an impromptu meeting with Kim Jong-un, despite the heavy criticism he received for it from Democrats
Trump said it was 'great to call on' the North Korean leader before their 'very well covered meeting' in the demilitarized zone
Minutes after Trump bragged about his trip, Sen. Bernie Sanders, a top-tier contender to run against him in the general election, denounced the Republican president's foreign policies.
'I have no problem with Trump negotiating with Kim Jong Un. But while he's meeting with Kim, he's pushed us to the brink of war with Iran, and kept us in the horrific Saudi-led war in Yemen,' he said.
Sanders added: 'We can't just have photo opportunities. We need real diplomacy.'
Trump had handicapped the visit as it happened, when he complained that media would give him bad reviews.
'When I put out the social media notification, if he didn't show up the press was going to make me look very bad,' Trump said of his Saturday invitation to meet. 'So you made us both look good and I appreciate it.'
At another point he told the media that had Kim decided not to show, 'You would have hit me hard.'
His remarks preceded a round of Sunday show interviews, in which his competitors, fresh off their first debate proceeded to skewer him.
Democratic candidate and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar told CNN, 'We have seen a history here, especially in this case, where Donald Trump announces these summits, and nothing really comes out of it.
'Of course, as a country, we want this to work. We want to see a denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, a reduction in these missiles. But it is not as easy as just going and bringing a hot dish over the fence to the dictator next door. This is a ruthless dictator.'
Trump seemed happy with the coverage of his trip to Asia, sending multiple tweets about it on Monday from the White House, where he was recuperating from a 30-hour day
A New York Times report characterized it as a 'nuclear freeze,' and said the position change has been kicked around in the administration for months.
John Bolton said in a Monday morning tweet that there had been no such discussion by anyone working at the White House and demanded consequences for the sources pushing the false claims.
'I read this NYT story with curiosity. Neither the NSC staff nor I have discussed or heard of any desire to 'settle for a nuclear freeze by NK.' This was a reprehensible attempt by someone to box in the President. There should be consequences,' he said.
Trump did suggest he could loosen sanctions in a 45-minute, closed-door meeting with Kim on Sunday in the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas.
'The sanctions remain but at some point during the negotiations things can happen,' he said.
He claimed that unspecified progress had been made in their third round of talks, which came after Trump invited Kim over Twitter to meet in neutral territory.
Their second summit fell apart without a new agreement, and North Korea has resumed weapons tests since the conversation in Hanoi.
The president's national security adviser says Donald Trump has never said he'd be open to allowing Kim Jong-un to keep his nuclear weapons
Trump did suggest he could loosen sanctions in a 45-minute, closed-door meeting with Kim on Sunday in the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas. He told reporters as much afterward
Bolton wasn't on the trip - he's seen here in Mongolia on Monday - but says it's never come up
Trump said Sunday that talks would be restarting, 'We are going to have teams, they are going to meet over the next weeks, they are going to start a process and we will see what happens.
His position throughout the administration has been the complete, verifiable denuclearization of the rogue nation under heavy U.S. and international sanctions for illicit nuclear tests.
Sources told the Times that Trump administration was considering a softening of its positions and the president could allow Kim, with whom he's become pen pals, to keep his nuclear arsenal if he promises not to use it.
Bolton refuted the claim on Twitter. He said neither he nor anyone else at the National Security Council, NSC, had heard it discussed.
It remained unclear on Monday morning whether anyone from NSC was in the room with Trump and Kim when they held their private talk, moments after Trump became the first sitting president to enter North Korea.
Bolton was on other travel at the time. He was not on the president's trip to Seoul and did not participate in his field trip to the DMZ and North Korea. It is not known whether an NSC aide was in the room with the president when he met Kim at all.
A spokesperson for the NSC did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom