WASHINGTON — The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee charged that President Trump’s United Nations speech ripping the “embarrassment” Iran deal could have killed any chance for a peaceful solution with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.
“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” Trump declared in his first address to the world body in New York.
Trump, who said Monday that he’s still weighing whether the U.S. will remain party to the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, today called it “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into — frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.
As Iran’s representatives looked on, Trump said it’s “far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime, one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.”
In a statement issued quickly after the speech, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) stressed that while “the goals of the United Nations are to foster peace and promote global cooperation, today the president used it as a stage to threaten war.”
“He missed an opportunity to present any positive actions the UN could take with respect to North Korea, and he launched a diatribe against Iran, again offering no pathway forward,” Feinstein said. “By suggesting he would revisit and possibly cancel the Iran nuclear agreement, he greatly escalated the danger we face from both Iran and North Korea. What nation would negotiate with the United States when the agreements we reach with other countries are so easily undermined?”
“Trump’s bombastic threat to destroy North Korea and his refusal to present any positive pathways forward on the many global challenges we face are severe disappointments. He aims to unify the world through tactics of intimidation, but in reality he only further isolates the United States.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) criticized the speech’s foreign policy approach for being “transactional,” arguing “it ought to be based on a long-term vision for achieving our interests by supporting democracy, human rights, and opportunity.”
“America cannot be strong if it is not respected. I wish the president had used his platform at the United Nations to rally the world to common action against the challenges of terrorism, nuclear proliferation, ethnic violence, poverty, and climate change,” Hoyer said. “Unfortunately, he offered only his trademark bluster and grandstanding, which will do little to make America or our world any safer.”
Not all reaction from Capitol Hill was critical:
! “It’s about time somebody talked turkey on that little bastard over there.” — Orrin Hatch on Trump’s UN speech about NK/Rocket Man
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) September 19, 2017