President Donald Trump's assessment of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as "very honorable," "surpasses understanding," Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said Tuesday, per a report in The Hill.
"I am concerned by the language used by the president [Tuesday] when discussing the North Korean regime," Flake said. "To say that Kim Jong Un has been very open or very honorable, as the president did, surpasses understanding."
Trump on Tuesday said Kim has been "very open" and "very honorable" in his desire for a meeting to broker a deal on Pyongyang's nuclear program.
"We have been told directly that they would like to have the meeting as soon as possible," Trump said at the White House alongside French President Emmanuel Macron. "We think that's a great thing for the world. Kim Jong Un, he really has been very open, and I think very honorable from everything we're seeing."
Trump once denounced Kim as "Little Rocket Man."
The U.S. and North Korea have been negotiating a summit between Trump and Kim to be held in May or June. North Korea on Saturday announced it would close its nuclear testing facility and suspend nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, a move welcomed by Trump as "big progress."
Flake said Trump's remarks was "part of a larger pattern of excusing dictatorial behavior.
"We cannot pretend that Kim Jong Un of today is somehow different from the authoritarian who has ruled over one of the most violent and repressive regimes on Earth," he said.
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