Is Hell Frozen? House Democrat Has Praise for Trump

Rep. Joaquín Castro offered the president a rare compliment for his forthright strategy of firmness toward North Korea

Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas) offered President Donald Trump a rare compliment on CNN’s “Newsroom”: He gave “a lot of credit to the administration” for pressuring other countries to join the U.S. in pushing North Korea to stop its nuke program.

The U.N. Security Council voted in September to impose strict sanctions on the belligerent nation. The council followed up that vote with another in late September that U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said “cut deeper.”

Castro, a vocal critic of Trump’s, became unusually complimentary when he acknowledged the president’s success in pushing for stricter sanctions on North Korea.

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“I actually give a lot of credit to the administration for going a few months ago now to the U.N. and getting the stricter sanctions on North Korea passed,” Castro said. “In other words, getting the world behind this idea of the strongest sanctions ever on North Korea.”

Castro usually isn’t filled with admiration and respect for Trump. In mid-December, the Democratic congressman called for Trump to resign on CNN “for the sake of the nation” because he fielded sexual misconduct allegations during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not — we will see!”

Trump has frequently expressed his frustration with China and Russia, in particular, throughout the first year of his presidency as he urged them to curtail their lenient approaches to North Korea.

“Sanctions and ‘other’ pressures are beginning to have a big impact on North Korea,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea. Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not — we will see!”

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But the president ripped China on December 28 for allegedly “allowing oil to go into North Korea.”

“Caught RED HANDED — very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!” Trump tweeted.

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Castro said he believed the Trump administration has achieved several astounding successes in dealing with North Korea.

“I believe, and the administration has said and others have said, these are the strongest that we have ever seen. And it’s true that other countries like China and Russia, for example, have sometimes skated by on these sanctions,” Castro said. “But the administration has actually done a good job of pressuring China to crack down harder on North Korea.”

Related: Secret Doc Shows China Promising to Give Nukes to North Korea

The Democratic congressman also offered Trump a word of caution when dealing with North Korea through Twitter.

“So rather than the president going out there and being a loose cannon on Twitter, he should actually build upon those successes to finally bring North Korea to the table and make sure that they become denuclearized,” Castro said.

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

(photo credit, homepage image: Joaquín Castro, CC 0, by Lauren Gerson)

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