Sanders acknowledged the agreement during a Sunday appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press” after host Chuck Todd grilled her over Trump’s tweet a day earlier that downplayed North Korea’s latest missile strike tests and mocked Biden, one of his 2020 Democratic presidential rivals.
“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me,” Trump had tweeted Saturday, adding that he “smiled” when Kim called “Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual.”
“Can you explain why Americans should not be concerned that the president of the United States is essentially siding with a murderous, authoritarian dictator over a former vice president of the United States?” Todd asked Sanders.
Sanders responded, “The president’s not ‘siding’ with that, but I think they agree in their assessment of former Vice President Joe Biden. Again, the president’s focus in this process is the relationship he has [with Kim] and making sure we continue on the path of denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula.
Todd said he’s unsure of the message Trump is sending to other countries by taking “the North Korean dictator’s word about Joe Biden.”
“The president doesn’t need somebody else to give him an assessment of Joe Biden,” Sanders said. “He’s given his own assessment a number of times. I think you’ve seen it. I’m sure you’ve covered it on your program.”
“I think if anybody needs help with an assessment it’s Joe Biden and whether or not he should be trying to get an upgrade when he failed to do the job in the number two slot” under President Barack Obama, she added.
Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, as well as senior administration officials, have warned Trump against trusting Kim and encouraged the U.S. to take a stronger stance against the authoritarian regime.
Kim assumed the role of North Korea’s supreme leader after his father, Kim Jong Il, died in 2011. He has carried on his father’s legacy of human rights violations, reportedly ordering the executions of hundreds of people, including his uncle and North Korea’s deputy premier of education.
An estimated 120,000 inmates were being held in the country’s four major political prisons in 2014, according to a United Nations report. Prisoners in North Korea face hideous conditions that include forced labor, starvation, torture and rape.
For many Americans, the regime’s brutality was underscored when college student Otto Warmbier died after being imprisoned by North Koreans when, as part of a tour group, he stole a propaganda poster from his hotel and sought to bring it home with him. Sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, he was returned to the U.S. about a year-and-a-half later in a vegetative state and died within days of his release.