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Pompeo and Dem Congressman Clash Over North Korea: ‘Don’t Make This a Political Football’

Congressman Tom Malinowski (D- NJ) clashed with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over North Korea at a hearing today, a week after President Donald Trump‘s surprise reversal on sanctions.

Malinowski started out by asking why the Trump administration is “so high on communism” as they’re “so forceful in denouncing socialism.” Pompeo called that statement “pretty outrageous.”

Malinowski said he’s talking about North Korea and how President Donald Trump has spoken of its “awesome” potential and how it can become an economic powerhouse by giving up its nuclear weapons.

“Why are you so confident in the capacity of a communist state to provide for its people?” he asked.

Pompeo defended the administration’s actions on North Korea, pointing to the tough sanctions and ongoing diplomatic negotiations.

“What form of government that takes place there will evolve over time. We have seen countries in the region who haven’t fully transformed in the way we like. Countries like Vietnam, be able to grow their economy and provide better for their people,” he added. “We think that opportunity exists in North Korea, as well.”

Malinowski shot back by bringing up the rhetoric from the president about “liking” and “falling in love with” Kim Jong Un. He asked, “Why is liking Kim Jong-Un a sufficient reason to cancel or not to pursue sanctions against companies helping his nuclear program, as the White House said last week?”

Pompeo again touted the tough sanctions in place, but Malinowski brought up the statement last week from Sarah Sanders to say “liking him is cited as a reason not to do more”:

As they kept going back and forth over the horrific conditions in North Korea, Malinowski asked, regarding Kim Jong Un, “Was he responsible for the decision not to allow Otto Warmbier to come home until he was on death’s door?”

“I’ll leave the president’s statement to stand,” Pompeo responded. “We all know the North Korean regime was responsible for the tragedy that occurred to Otto Warmbier. I’ve met that family. I know those people. I love them dearly. They suffered mightily, sir.”

“So what’s to like?” Malinowski asked.

“They suffered mightily, sir,” Pompeo repeated.

“So what’s to like about Kim Jong Un?” Malinowski repeated.

Pompeo then said, “Don’t make this a political football. It’s inappropriate.”

You can watch above, via C-SPAN 3.

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac