Former President Trump offered a hearty congratulations to Kim Jong Un after North Korea’s admission to the World Health Organization’s Executive Board.
“Congratulations to Kim Jon Un,” Trump said in a post to his Truth Social account on Friday, while sharing an article about the news.
The move immediately drew waves of criticism from Republicans.
“Kim Jong Un starves his own people. It’s a total farce that North Korea has a leading role at the World Health Organization,” said presidential candidate and Trump’s former UN ambassador Nikki Haley.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp also derided Trump. “Taking our country back from Joe Biden does not start with congratulating North Korea’s murderous dictator,” he said tweeted.
Later Saturday, Trump’s GOP rivals for the White House continued their criticism, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who called the North Korean leader “a murderous dictator.”
“I was surprised to see that,” DeSantis said of Trump’s post while speaking to Fox News Digital.
Trump’s former running mate, Mike Pence, told Fox, “nobody should be praising the dictator in North Korea or praising the leader in Russia, who has launched an unprovoked war of aggression in Ukraine. This is a time when we ought to make it clear to the world that we stand for freedom and we stand with those who stand for freedom.”
And Haley added to the chorus, telling Fox News, “You don’t congratulate a thug. I mean, let’s keep this in mind. This thug has threatened America. It’s threatened our allies over and over again. This is not something to play with.”
While he was president, Trump famously met the brutal North Korean dictator during summit meetings in Singapore and Vietnam. He also became the first US president to set foot inside the inclusive country.
The ostensible purpose of the visits were denuclearization talks — which were largely unsuccessful. The pair exchanged friendly letters and during his presidency and Trump publicly stated that he had a “great relationship” with the dictator and that they were “in love”
In response to the criticism of a Trump campaign spokesman focused on DeSantis, Fox said.
“President Trump achieved peace through strength and, as a result, no new wars were started under his presidency. On the other hand, Ron DeSantis is a puppet of the establishment war mongers and doesn’t have the strength, fortitude, or will to stand up against America’s adversaries,” Trump campaign spokesman Steve Cheung told Fox News.