Donald Trump Deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for North Korea Diplomacy, Kellyanne Conway Claims

Kellyanne Conway has claimed that President Donald Trump is on his way to a Nobel Peace Prize thanks to his diplomacy with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Speaking on Fox News on Tuesday, the counselor to the president took a shot at former President Barack Obama, suggesting that he—unlike Trump—did not deserve to receive the honor, Grabien reported.

Trump became the first U.S. president to set foot in North Korea when he met Kim Jong Un at the border town of Panmunjom on Sunday. The meeting could prove to be a shot in the arm for stalled talks on North Korea denuclearization and reciprocal sanctions relief.

The president's North Korea strategy has focused on personal engagement with Kim, despite suggestions that this approach inherently benefits the North Korean leader, presenting him with valuable propaganda victories and bolstering his international and domestic image.

Since an unexpected thaw in relations between Washington and Pyongyang, Trump and Kim have met for two high-profile bilateral summits in Singapore and Hanoi, Vietnam. The latter broke up early with no agreement, beginning a months-long negotiating stalemate.

For all his bombast, Trump has achieved very little of value so far. The North stopped missile and nuclear tests, but research reportedly continued in both fields. And although Trump froze large-scale joint military drills with South Korea—reportedly without notifying Seoul or even his own commanders—tough economic sanctions remain in place.

Nonetheless, the president's supporters claim that engaging Kim is a worthy prize in itself, despite the secretive nation's human rights abuses and rogue diplomacy.

"President Obama was handed the Nobel Peace Prize, but President Trump is on his way to actually earning one," Conway told Fox News on Tuesday. "And that's because he has an obligation to at least meet with leaders and speak to other countries, and try to bring peace where he can, and really to reduce nuclear capabilities while sanctions continue."

"He's made very clear to Chairman Kim himself, 'Sanctions will continue on your country, but look at what could happen—the economic development, prosperity for your own people if you would simply work with us to denuclearize the Korean peninsula,'" she added.

Conway claimed that the failed summit in Hanoi is evidence of Trump's ability to make a good deal. "He walked away from what he thought was a bad deal, as great negotiating businessmen do, and politicians in Washington don't really understand, still," she said.

"He walked away from that deal, people were shocked...he walked away with a full deck, because this man is never in a rush to make a bad deal, believe me."

The president's opponents have been less impressed with his warm attitude toward Kim and other authoritarian leaders, which were on show during last week's G20 meeting in Osaka, Japan.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the event "one of the worst few days in American foreign policy."

Schumer told CNN he disagreed with Trump "praising dictators" and "messing up foreign policy left and right." As for Kim, Schumer suggested the president gave "Kim Jong Un what he wanted, calling him a friend, patting him on the back, and getting nothing, absolutely nothing in return."

"It's reality show foreign policy," Schumer added. "He wants the photo op, he wants that little hit. He has no strategy, long-range sense of where to go, what to do. If anyone thinks this doesn't hurt America in the short term, in the long run, they are sadly mistaken."

Donald Trump, North Korea, Nobel Peace Prize
President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un walk on North Korean soil toward South Korea in the Demilitarized Zone on June 30, 2019, in Panmunjom on the border of North and South Korea. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty