President Donald Trump should avoid the mistakes former President Barack Obama made with the Iran deal and submit any deal with North Korea for approval as a treaty, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Saturday.
"The one thing I have found, if it's going to be long-standing, I think treaties are longer standing and supportive from administration to administration," the California Republican told MSNBC's Hugh Hewitt.
Obama approved the international Iran nuclear deal by signing off on it as an executive agreement rather than a treaty. This allowed Trump to pull the United States out of the pact earlier this year.
By making any agreement with North Korea a treaty, that would negate arguments that Trump's action on the Iran deal could be repeated with North Korea, or that it makes other countries cautious about penning deals with the United States, said McCarthy.
He said he also does not agree that Trump's action made his upcoming North Korea negotiations more difficult.
“How can you negotiate with North Korea to say to end the nuclear weapons that they have if you’re allowing Iran to develop one?" said McCarthy. "That was the wrong approach all along, and I think the president took the right approach by saying no to Iran and sitting down with North Korea and saying you have to stop."
A few weeks ago, Trump pulled out of his upcoming summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, but as of Friday, he'd said the summit remained in play.
McCarthy compared his action to one late President Ronald Reagan used while dealing with the Soviet Union. At that time, Reagan was willing to walk away from negotiations if they were not going how he wished, but would talk when they were heading in the direction he wanted.
"They criticized Ronald Reagan when he got up and walked away out of Iceland against [Mikhail] Gorbachev," said McCarthy. "But would the Berlin Wall have collapsed, or the Soviet Union, had he not? I think President Trump is taking that same approach. He’s making sure that for this negotiation to go forward, that the tone is set correctly. To have an agreement means that you have to, he’s been very clear, you have to end any nuclear weapons that you have or any development of that for any agreement to go forward. And he would put that into stone by going forward with the treaty."
McCarthy on Saturday also discussed talk of him becoming the next House Speaker, telling Hewitt that he's not going to worry about that, but make sure Republicans keep their House majority.
"I’m going to make sure that a Republican has the opportunity to become Speaker after the next Congress," said McCarthy. "Hugh, you understand that history is against us, that the party in power has only two times in modern history, that those individuals actually gained seats. If you looked at where we were 12 months ago, it was in a very bad place. But look at the numbers that came out today. Unemployment, we just tied the lowest level this country has been in the last 50 years. Unemployment claims at a 44 year low."
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