Tucker Carlson defends Trump's meeting with Kim Jong Un, says leading a country "means killing people"

By Caitlin O'Kane

/ CBS News

Dems slam Trump for meeting with Kim Jong Un

Fox News host Tucker Carlson defended President Trump's brief meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and sparked some controversy of his own with his commentary this weekend. Carlson was there as Mr. Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot on North Korean soil, crossing over the border in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean peninsula.

During a phone interview with "Fox & Friends" on Sunday, Carlson said there "is no defending the North Korean regime, which is a monstrous regime. It is the last really Stalinist regime in the whole world. It is a disgusting place, obviously," Carlson said.

But he then appeared to justify Kim Jong Un's bloody track record. "On the other hand, you've got to be honest about what it means to lead a country. It means killing people," Carlson said.

President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas on June 30, 2019. KEVIN LAMARQUE / REUTERS

"Not on the scale the North Koreans do, but a lot of countries commit atrocities, including a number that we are closely allied with," Carlson continued. Kim has been accused of rampant human rights abuses and the murder of former aides during his time as the hermit country's authoritarian leader.

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Carlson also appeared to defend Mr. Trump's fondness for Kim. Foreign policy, he suggested, is "a choice most of the time between the bad people and the worse people."

"I do think that's how the president sees it. He's far less sentimental about this stuff," Carlson said.

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Tucker Carlson Rich Polk/Getty Images

On "Fox & Friends," Carlson also described Kim as a "hard character" who was "wheezing like an emphysema patient." Carlson said Kim was "self contained," and Trump was "as happy as I've ever seen him" to do something that had never been done before.

President Trump had kind words for Kim as he described the DMZ crossing and how Kim asked him to walk over into North Korea. "I said I would be honored to do that — I didn't know what was he was going to say, but it was my honor," Mr. Trump said.

After the roughly 45-minute-long meeting, Mr. Trump told reporters he and Kim had agreed to restart negotiations in the hopes of brokering a deal for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula — a long-sought goal that has eluded American administrations for decades.

The president, who hailed his "great relationship" with the North Korean strongman, invited Kim to the White House to continue talks. But in the hours after the unexpected meeting, some U.S. lawmakers — including numerous 2020 Democratic presidential candidates — questioned how productive the meeting was in efforts to reach a nuclear deal.

First published on July 1, 2019 / 1:04 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

U.S. President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet at the Korean Demilitarized Zone gettyimages-1052722724.jpg

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