Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement about President Trump’s acceptance of Kim Jong Un and others like him:

“Like many Americans, I am continually disturbed at President Trump’s willingness to praise dictators, including Kim Jong Un.  At Kim’s behest, the people of North Korea are victim to egregious, vile human rights violations conducted by their government. Recently, when given the opportunity to confront Kim about these acts, as we saw in the case of Otto Warmbier, a young American forced to endure the harsh conditions and inhumane treatment of government officials at these prisons and who died as a result, the President chose instead to fully exonerate Kim of responsibility.

"I have stated previously that I want to see diplomacy with North Korea succeed.  I believe it’s the most preferable way to deal with North Korea’s nuclear program.  However, as we pursue a diplomatic solution to a grave national security threat, we should not abandon, nor be silent about fundamental American principles.

"Instead of standing strong for universal American values, President Trump has consistently undermined them by characterizing his meetings with this despot as an “honor,” and lavishing excessive praise on Kim Jong Un. This is part of a disturbing, broader pattern that includes the President’s unbridled positive sentiments on autocrats like Vladimir Putin of Russia, and other partners who also act counter to our principles, while the administration knowingly looks the other way.

"President Trump should be willing to stand up to world leaders who threaten democracy and violate basic human rights.  When given the chance to stand strong for American values, he’s shown weakness.”