VIDEO - Coons joins CNN, says Senate would be surprised to find out "President has been speaking directly to Kim Jong-un and that they've somehow developed a warm and positive relationship."

Sen. Chris Coons yesterday joined CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to discuss immigrants and North Korea.

“This shows a president who at times is much more concerned about playing to his own base or continuing the nativist or at times racist themes of his campaign rather than governing successfully.

He was on the verge of having exactly the bipartisan deal on addressing border security and working with DACA that he had asked for just a few days ago in a hopeful bipartisan session that he hosted in the White House.

This afternoon, a bipartisan group of senators announced they had reached a deal. And, given that government shutdown is looming just next week, something all of us would like to avoid, ought to avoid, the President throwing himself into this mix with this kind of slur is exactly ill-timed.”

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- on Trump's comment about immigrants: It says to me that President Trump doesn't understand what makes America truly great, which is that we have a long history of welcoming people from around the world, of embracing folks who come here as immigrants or as refugees from troubled places around the world who are coming here for opportunity and for freedom and who have contributed immensely to our country.

As a number of commentators in the last half hour said, whose own family histories included coming here from countries that used to be disfavored, used to be the subject of these sorts of slurs, this is just beneath the presidency, but also suggests he doesn't quite get what makes America great.

 

- on Trump: ... this kind of slur is exactly ill-timed. It shows the worst in his instincts and his weaknesses as someone able to govern and lead.

 The President has on many occasions shown himself to careen back and forth from positions that could be supported or embraced by a wide range of people, let's support manufacturing, let's build on our infrastructure, and then veers wildly over to the right to positions that are not just marginal, but genuinely nativist or even racist.


- on the impact on policy: As we go into Martin Luther King weekend, as he faces important foreign policy decisions around Iran tomorrow, and in our ongoing confrontation with North Korea, his weird innuendo about how maybe he's got a relationship where he's speaking with Kim Jong-un of North Korea, suggests that this is a President who is governing or leading by tweet, by slur, and by innuendo. That's no way to lead this great nation.


- on Rep. Cedric Richmond’s response: That's the chilling implication of the President's remarks. Given what happened last year in Charlottesville, given the President's failure to speak as the sort of moral leader that our country needs and expects, from a President in a moment like the Charlottesville demonstrations, and his abject failure to really stand up and address it in a way that was constructive or positive or healing, I agree with those comments, that it suggests a really troubling consistent theme that the President winks at or toys with or actively embraces racist instincts and gives voice to them.

 

- on North Korea: It's inconceivable that the President is publicly saying that he has a good relationship with Kim Jong-un. And, I have no idea what basis in fact he has for that assertion.

Would it be good for our country if there were open lines of communication, if there were ongoing negotiations, if there was progress being made in terms of de-escalation and addressing the nuclear threat to South Korea, Japan, and to the United States that we face from Kim Jong-un, yes that would be good. And, my New Year's resolution was to be hopeful, but there's no basis in fact for this.

We had a briefing earlier today on North Korea. I think it would be a huge surprise to the Senate to know that the President has been speaking directly to Kim Jong-un and that they've somehow developed a warm and positive relationship.