(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump pushed back against criticism that he gave too much ground to North Korea at last week’s summit, saying the U.S. “got so much” out of the meeting, including the return of American citizens.
The president also defended his decision to halt military exercises with South Korea in the region, writing that the so-called war games can start again if a deal isn’t reached with North Korea.
“Holding back the ‘war games’ during the negotiations was my request because they are VERY EXPENSIVE and set a bad light during a good faith negotiation,” Trump wrote on Twitter Sunday morning. “Also, quite provocative. Can start up immediately if talks break down, which I hope will not happen!”
The agreement reached between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore last week failed to lay out a timeline for the denuclearization of North Korea, or provide details of how the U.S. would verify North Korea’s compliance.
Lawmakers in both parties have described the meeting as a first step toward negotiating a lasting peace agreement, while Trump has taken credit for a fait accompli:
“Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea,” Trump tweeted a day after the summit. “President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer - sleep well tonight!”
Some Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have derided the meeting as more of a photo-op than one of substance. The president responded to Schumer on Sunday.
“Chuck Schumer said ‘the Summit was what the Texans call all cattle and no hat.’ Thank you Chuck, but are you sure you got that right?,” Trump wrote on Twitter, possibly taking a dig at his fellow New Yorker for mangling the expression, which derides something or someone as being “all hat and no cattle.”
“No more nuclear testing or rockets flying all over the place, blew up launch sites. Hostages already back, hero remains coming home & much more!” Trump added.
The president may also have been responding to the American public, which appears to be withholding judgment on the long-term results of the summit. A Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday found that 55 percent of adults polled said it was “too early to tell” if the summit was a success for the U.S.
More respondents termed the Trump-Kim meeting a success for North Korea than a success for the U.S.
Possibly with the poll in mind, Trump also on Sunday weighed in on a current labor dispute at the Washington Post, saying on Twitter that “a really long strike would be a great idea. Employees would get more money and we would get rid of Fake News for an extended period of time!”
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