Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley accused the field's top contender, former President Donald Trump, of showing "friendliness" to North Korean leadership.
Politico reported Tuesday that Haley expressed the opinion in a statement addressing Russian President Vladimir Putin's planned meeting with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un later this month.
"The Kim-Putin partnership is another sign that the dictators of the world are united," said Haley, a former United Nations ambassador. "The tyrants who lead China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea hate America and our values. We must take their threats seriously."
But neither President "Joe Biden's weakness nor Donald Trump's friendliness to Kim have changed North Korea's direction for the better," she continued. "These dictators only understand strength."
Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Trump's 2024 campaign, defended the former president's record on North Korea when the Washington Examiner asked him about Haley's recent statement.
"Under President Trump's successful presidency, no new wars were started because everyone respected the power and leadership of America," Cheung emphasized. "Sadly, Joe Biden and many others want to further bloodshed and deaths."
Trump has previously defended his foreign policy strategy when approaching Kim.
"It started off rough, remember that?" Trump said of his rhetoric towards Kim. "I was saying 'little rocket man,' and he was saying, 'I've got a red button on my desk, and I'm willing to use it.'"
"And then all of a sudden, we get a call – they want to meet," he added. "We would have had that whole situation straightened out shortly after the beginning of my second term."
Haley is currently in fourth place in the primary, behind Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, according to a FiveThirtyEight average of polls.
Luca Cacciatore, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is based in Arlington, Virginia, reporting on news and politics.
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