Government

Grassley: Too soon to declare North Korea summit a success

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) meets with constituents in Sac City, Iowa, on April 20, 2017. (Jerry Mennenga/Zuma Press/TNS)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) meets with constituents in Sac City, Iowa, on April 20, 2017. (Jerry Mennenga/Zuma Press/TNS)

Sen. Chuck Grassley is encouraged by President Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but said it’s too soon to declare success.

“I would be very cautious,” Grassley told reporters Wednesday, adding later that despite the historic nature of the summit, it’s also premature to talk about a Nobel Peace Prize for the president.

“They’re going to make the same mistake they did with Obama,” the Iowa Republican said about reports that two Norwegian lawmakers already had nominated Trump for the honor.

President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. Later, Geir Lundestad, secretary of the Nobel committee, said he and others regretted the award because it didn’t achieve what they had hoped — strengthening Obama in the first year of his presidency.

Grassley called the summit an “opening bid” that will be successful only if it leads to North Korea’s denuclearization. While he agrees with Trump that the world is safer as a result of the meeting, Grassley pointed out that in calling the meeting a success, the president offered a caveat that in six months he may say he was wrong.

It remains to be seen if Kim is different from his father and grandfather — both former North Korean leaders — “who lied several times.”

“Maybe I should have the same caution about this Kim, but he seems to be a different Kim to some degree, so give a little bit of hope that things aren’t going be the same,” he said. “Only time will tell.”

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Grassley would have called it a “crazy thought” if someone suggested a year ago the summit would happen.

“Things change rapidly,” he said. “Maybe the way a businessman conducts the presidency versus the politicians and generals … maybe it’ll work.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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