WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday accused Democrats of "rooting against" upcoming nuclear talks with North Korea, and said his political opponents were trying to coddle gang members.
With the 2018 midterm elections on the horizon, Trump has gone out of his way to poke Democrats. On Friday, he lumped his grievances against them into a tweet:
"Democrats are so obviously rooting against us in our negotiations with North Korea. Just like they are coming to the defense of MS 13 thugs, saying that they are individuals & must be nurtured, or asking to end your big Tax Cuts & raise your taxes instead. Dems have lost touch!"
A look at Trump's complaints against Democrats:
For decades, the U.S. has tried to deter North Korea from building a nuclear weapon and struggled with how to engage the reclusive dictatorship. Eager for a bold accomplishment, Trump jumped quickly on Kim Jong Un's March overture for a summit, announcing that Singapore would host the June meeting. The White House even unveiled a commemorative coin with the profiles of Trump and Kim to herald the "peace talks."
But after a top North Korean foreign ministry official called Vice President Mike Pence a "political dummy," Trump announced the meeting was off, possibly out of concern that Kim would back out first and ultimately embarrass the U.S. president.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she imagine Kim "having a giggle fit" after Trump rescinded the offer of a summit. "It's clear he didn't know what he was getting into," she said of Trump.
Other Democrats said they wanted North Korea to disarm, but knew it wouldn't happen quickly without intense preparations that they said Trump wasn't willing to do.
Trump's fortunes seemed to shift Friday, as the North Korean government said it is still "willing to give the U.S. time and opportunities" to reconsider talks "at any time, at any format." Trump later told reporters the summit could still happen on June 12 as planned.
Not a single Democrat in the House and Senate voted for the $1.5 trillion tax cut package Republicans muscled through Congress. It provides significant tax cuts for corporations and the most prosperous Americans, and Democrats depicted it as a payout to the GOP's largest donors.
Seeking to convince voters otherwise, Republicans have trumpeted announcements from companies that credit the tax overhaul as the reason their workers are getting bonuses and wage increases. Trump invited workers and company owners to praise the tax breaks, and took credit for the effort.
"For years they haven't been able to do it, they were unable to do it," he said, drawing a contrast with Democrats.
"They want to increase your taxes and spend money on things that you don't even want to know about," he said.
Trump attacked House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi over her criticism of his decision to publicly brand MS-13 gang members "animals" during a White House meeting on immigration last week.
Trump says: "Just the other day, Nancy Pelosi came out in favor of MS-13. ... She wants them to be treated with respect."
Pelosi did not endorse the gang, but took aim at Trump's rhetoric, saying, "Calling people animals is not a good thing." She added that "we all have to recognize that as we respect the dignity and worth of every person."
This story corrects Nancy Pelosi's title to House Minority Leader, rather than House Speaker.