Republican senators praised President Donald Trump for his decision Thursday to cancel a summit in Singapore with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.
In a rare interview with reporters, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Trump made the “right” decision.
“I think he did the right thing,” he said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who’s a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, praised the Trump administration’s strategy for handling North Korea.
“I thought they’ve done a good job of making diplomacy real,” he told CNN. “They’ve done a good job of saying they’re not going to get played. And I’ll talk to the administration this afternoon. I’ll get briefed by them, Secretary (of State Mike) Pompeo, about sort of what led to this and where they want to go, and I’ll know more after that.”
During an appearance from the Roosevelt Room on Thursday, Trump said the decision amounted to a “tremendous setback” and warned North Korea that the US military is ready to act should Pyongyang take any “foolish and reckless” action – but left the door open to renewing the diplomatic thaw which had preceded the anticipated talks.
Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said he is still hopeful that a summit with North Korea could still happen once the “bombastic” rhetoric settles down.
“I think it’s not happening under the current timetable,” he said. “But I wouldn’t say it’s never happening. I would say that at least there are many people in our country who would like to see a summit and still like to see a discussion. But really I think language, sometimes on both sides, gets things too ratcheted up and that prevents the diplomacy from occurring.”
This story will be updated.
CNN’s Phil Mattingly, Liz Turrell and Manu Raju contributed to this report.