Mike Pompeo says Donald Trump does not trust North Korea

Trump's secretary of state proclaimed his faith in Venezuela's opposition and his lack of trust in North Korea

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published May 5, 2019 2:00PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo proclaimed his support for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó and his belief that North Korea's government cannot be trusted during a series of interviews on Sunday morning.

"We don't expect chairman Kim to tell us the truth. That's why we're going to verify any denuclearization that takes place, that's why we will ensure that we see actual on-the-ground outcomes. We're not going to take anyone's word for it," Pompeo told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday, according to CBS News. Pompeo was responding to comments recently made by Cindy Warmbier, the mother of American college student Otto Warmbier, who is believed to have been murdered by the North Korean government during a visit to that country. Warmbier described the Trump administration's diplomatic efforts with North Korea as a "charade" and denounced the regime of dictator Kim Jong-un as "evil."

During an appearance on ABC News' "This Week," Pompeo spoke with correspondent Jonathan Karl about his interpretation of reports that North Korean had engaged in missile tests, in defiance of the interests and will of the American government.

"We still believe that there's an opportunity to get a negotiated outcome where we get fully verified denuclearization. Chairman Kim has repeated that. He's repeated that quite recently, in fact," Pompeo told Karl. "So, we hope that this act that he took over the weekend won't get in the way. We want to get back to the table. We want to continue to have these conversations."

He added, "The sanctions, the global sanctions put in place by the UN Security Council, they're still in place, and so the pressure on Chairman Kim to continue down this path, to achieve the outcome that everyone — you have to remember, this took place — this attack took place — or excuse me, these launches took place just after he met with Vladimir Putin. And so clearly Chairman Kim has not been able to get precisely what he wanted, but we hope that we can get back to the table and find the path forward. We're further along than we were a year ago and we hope we can continue to make progress."

During an appearance on "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace, Pompeo discussed the efforts by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó to seize power against President Nicolás Maduro. Pompeo insisted that Guaidó, not Maduro, is the legitimate leader of that country.

"Well, first of all, Chris, there can't be a coup led by Juan Guaido. He’s the elected leader of Venezuela, duly elected to their constitutional process. So there couldn't have been a coup there," Pompeo told Wallace.

He added, "The Venezuelan people's struggle for democracy continues. We made it very clear that Maduro must leave. There is no way you can have free and fair elections with Maduro still inside of that country."

Pompeo also expressed support and pride in the Venezuelan people.

"If you think about where this country was 90 days ago, the Venezuelan people should be very proud. They’re much closer to having democracy restored and having their country back on the right track than they were 90 days ago," Pompeo told Wallace.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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All Salon Donald Trump Juan Guaido Kim Jong-un Mike Pompeo News & Politics North Korea Venezuela