- Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
- Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should not cross President Donald Trump.
- Graham pointed to Trump’s trade fight with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as an example of what happens when a foreign leader tries to “play” Trump.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday suggested that if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attempts to renege on a deal with Donald Trump, he could end up on the US president’s bad side – just like the leader of one of the US’s closest allies, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Asked about the possibility that Kim could break a vague agreement with Trump to work toward denuclearization, Graham cited the current trade spat with Trudeau as evidence Trump shouldn’t be crossed.
“If Kim shakes Trump’s hand and receives lavish praise from President Trump and tries to play President Trump – look what happened to Canada – bad things are going to happen,” said Graham, the hawkish South Carolina Republican. “So the worst thing you can do to President Trump if you’re a foreign leader is try to play him.”
The Canadian leader would likely argue, however, that not only does he lead one of the US’s closest allies, but also that he did no such thing in negotiations with Trump.
The current troubles between Trump and Trudeau started when the US announced it would place tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from key allies, including Canada. This prompted Trudeau to announce retaliatory measures on US goods.
Trudeau called the US’s metals tariffs “totally unacceptable” and “frankly insulting.” Trudeau – and other world leaders – also raised concerns about the US’s new tariffs during the G7 summit in Quebec, Canada.
After the summit, Trudeau reiterated the need for retaliatory measures while the US metal tariffs were in place. The Canadian prime minster emphasized the point, asserting that Canada would not be “pushed around.”
The comments also came after months of negotiations on a wide range of trade concerns including a new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA.
North Korea, the longtime adversary of the US and its allies, has not been as straightforward with their intentions about a deal. It has a long history of openly insulting US officials and has reversed course on a number of promises to the US in previous years.
In Singapore, Trump announced that the US would halt certain military drills with South Korea, while Kim committed to vague promises to ramp down the North Korean nuclear program.
After his meeting with the North Korean leader, Trump praised the Kim, which stood in contrast to some of his harsher words over the past few days about Trudeau.
“I think I’ve helped them. Things will change. … I think they are one of the great winners today,” Trump said when asked about the more than 100,000 political prisoners in North Korea.