September 05, 2017

Van Hollen Discusses North Korea and DACA on MSNBC

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen joined MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell today to discuss the ongoing situation in North Korea and the President's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Below are excerpts of the interview, and the full video is available here:

On North Korea -

"One of the issues that we need to address here, of course, is... the Chinese continuing to be an economic lifeline to North Korea.... This has got to be an indication that the Chinese have got to get serious. I mean, this is a moment when North Korea went ahead and exploded another nuclear weapon, their largest to date. They've tested ICBMs, talk about doing another one. China needs to recognize that this is the time to put economic pressure on North Korea through an oil embargo. They have done it in the past and it has helped to bring North Koreans to the table in a meaningful way. So I hope that we will adopt that, and that the Russians and the Chinese will not stand in the way."

"Senator Toomey and I have also introduced bipartisan legislation... to really begin to tighten the financial screws. And we make a very simple statement in the bill - which is if you're a business or a bank doing business with North Korea, you're not going to be doing business with the United States. And while the Trump Administration has taken some steps to crack down on some of these firms in China, we believe we need to send a much stronger signal."

"The President of the United States needs to be on the phone conducting diplomacy, not these hot and cold tweets. We want to work with China, and we want to get them to put pressure on North Korea. On one hand, he tweets that his best buddy is President Xi, and the next day he tweets something very different. He's attacked our ally, South Korea, calling them an appeaser, which is just not true. We just returned from the meeting with the President of South Korea, who is demonstrating resolve in also deploying the THAAD missile defense there, which the Chinese have been pushing back on and trying to get them not to do it. So to say that we're going to walk away from the trade agreement and to call them appeasers is not the way that the United States should be conducting diplomacy."

On the President's decision to end DACA -

"Here's the President pulling the plug on the DREAMers, and then trying to provide cover for himself by saying, Congress, you act. It was a wrong decision. He didn't have to do it. He did it, he's going to hurt 800,000 people and the communities and businesses that rely on these young people. Now I hope Congress will act. In the Senate, we do have a bipartisan bill. Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Dick Durbin have a bill - we should push that through. Paul Ryan is going to need to need to step up to the plate. He's talked a lot about this. This is his opportunity to show some leadership on immigration."

"My goodness, the Senate passed a bipartisan bill years ago - never got a vote in the House. I was in the House of Representatives at the time. Speaker Boehner never even allowed a vote on it. So of course Congress should act. But the President should not have taken this very harmful, damaging action today."