President Trump's efforts to engage in diplomatic talks with North Korea have once again split the nation, with Republicans supporting the move and Democrats opposing it.
But a small faction of progressive Democrats broke with party leaders to offer praise for Trump's attempt to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.
"We are encouraged by your efforts to pursue direct diplomacy with North Korea with the dual goals of resolving the nearly seven-decade-long conflict and achieving the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," 15 House members wrote in a letter to Trump. "Diplomacy is the only path to resolve the tensions between our countries."
The letter was signed by the two co-chairmen of the House's Progressive Caucus — Reps. Raul Grijalva of Arizona and and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin — and include members from California, Washington and Hawaii, McClatchy reports.
Rob Stutzman, a Republican political strategist based in Sacramento, California, said Democrats had no choice but to back Trump.
"Whether they like it or not Trump has succeeded in getting to the table with Kim, which no other U.S. president has been able to do." he said. "There is jeopardy for them in opposing what could be a diplomatic success that will be very popular at home. If Trump is unable to deliver a denuclearization agreement, they have not lost anything politically. The safe thing for them to do is to support the US president abroad at the summit."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, hated everything about Trump's meeting Tuesday in Singapore with Kim Jong Un.
“Nuclear nonproliferation is a pillar of America’s national security," Pelosi said in a statement. "We respect any serious and real diplomatic efforts to achieve that goal on the Korean peninsula. Apparently, the President handed Kim Jong-un concessions in exchange for vague promises that do not approach a clear and comprehensive pathway to denuclearization and non-proliferation.
“In his haste to reach an agreement, President Trump elevated North Korea to the level of the United States while preserving the regime’s status quo. The millions of families currently living in fear of nuclear weapons in the region deserve strong and smart leadership built on diplomacy and engagement with our regional partners and allies," Pelosi said.
“The President’s marginalization of the vast expertise of the State Department and his habitual disparaging of our allies as demonstrated at the G7 Forum hinders a lasting, stable pathway to peace.”