President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he is prepared to call off or leave his highly anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, if it is not “fruitful.”
The president was asked about the summit, which he said will likely take place in late May or early June, during a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s winter estate in Florida.
Earlier in the day, the commander-in-chief noted that his secretary of state appointee Mike Pompeo “had a great meeting with Kim Jong Un and got along with him really well, really great.”
That dialogue gave Trump confidence that a meeting between himself and the dictator could be productive; however, he remains fully aware it could not.
“If I think it’s a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we’re not going to go,” Trump stated. “If the meeting, when I’m there, is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.”
He added that he will remain “flexible” throughout the whole process, but emphasized again his willingness to pull up stakes, if the summit appears to not be leading to any meaningful change in North Korea’s nuclear weapons posture.
“We’ve gotten us here, and I think we’re going to be successful,” the president said. “But for any reason if I feel we’re not, we end.”
Pres. Trump on anticipated meeting with North Korea: "If we don't think it's going to be successful, we won't have it…If the meeting, when I'm there, is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting." https://t.co/Atu2Wp1SPk pic.twitter.com/tknKQBZlPM
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) April 18, 2018
At a working lunch with Abe on Wednesday, Trump was asked if he was concerned about the Senate confirming Pompeo’s move from CIA director to secretary of state.
“No, I think he’s going to come through,” the president said. “I think Mike Pompeo is extraordinary. He was number one at West Point. He was top at Harvard. He’s a great gentleman. I think he’ll go down as truly a great secretary of state.”
Trump specifically addressed Sen. Rand Paul’s, R-Ky., opposition to Pompeo, given the lawmaker’s position on the Foreign Relations Committee. A “no” vote by the Kentuckian would mean Pompeo would not receive a positive referral from the committee, though the full Senate can still vote to confirm.
“I will say this about Rand Paul: He’s never let me down,” the president said. “Rand Paul is a very special guy, as far as I’m concerned. He’s never let me down. And I don’t think he’ll let us down again. So let’s see what happens.”
“So I think that Mike will be in good shape,” Trump added. “We’ll see what happens. You know, a lot of people are predicting other things. But I have a feeling it’s going to work out very well, and I think our country really needs him.”
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters Wednesday, “The trust that President Trump has in Director Pompeo, including having him represent the president and country in those initial talks with North Korea — that tells you how the president is already viewing Director Pompeo as the nation’s chief diplomat.”
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