A spokesman for President Trump said Sunday “nothing is being ruled out” for Trump’s upcoming meeting with North Korea’s leader, including a possible sitdown in the White House.
“Nothing is being ruled out,” Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said on ABC’s “This Week. “I have no announcement, it’s a time and a place to be determined. ”
He also said there’s a remote possibility that Trump might travel to North Korea to meet with President Kim Jong Un, who he has mocked in the past as “Little Rocket Man.”
“I don’t think that that’s, you know, highly likely but again, I’m not going to rule anything out,” Shah said.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo said the site of the meeting is “a lot less important … than the substance of the meeting.”
What is critical, Pompeo said, is that Trump not back down from preconditions he put on North Korea for the meeting.
Kim must “stop the missile testing that he’s been hard at for the past year, continue to allow us to conduct our militarily necessary exercises on the (Korean) peninsula and leave on the table discussions for denuclearization,” Pompeo said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“The president has made the decision; this is the right time to meet with Kim Jong Un,” Pompeo added.
The Republican head of the Senate Homeland Security Committee echoed Pompeo’s remarks that Trump must keep “maximum” pressure on Kim before the summit.
“Let’s not be snookered again,” Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Let’s not be Charlie Brown to North Korea’s Lucy.”
He said he and five other senators signed a letter “encouraging President Trump to make sure to maintain that maximum pressure until we see complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization within North Korea.”
The Trump administration and the United Nations have imposed strict sanctions on North Korea that pinches off its finances and cripples its ability to trade goods in retaliation for its nuclear weapons program.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren embraced a diplomatic solution to the standoff but cautioned that North Korea could take advantage of Trump because the State Department still lacks key personnel.
“It’s good to move to diplomacy,” Warren said on CNN. “The problem right now is these are very complicated negotiations. There are a lot of issues involved in them, and our State Department has just been decimated.”
Trump announced last Thursday that he agreed to meet with Kim after talks were brokered between the regime and South Korea, possibly becoming the first president to meet with a North Korea president in history.
On Saturday, Trump said he had high hopes for the meeting, which could happen as soon as May.
“I think North Korea is going to go very well,” he said. “I think we will have tremendous success … they promised they wouldn’t be shooting off missiles in the meantime, and they’re looking to de-nuke. They’re gonna be great.”