In a remarkable exchange, a Fox News host asked Senator Marco Rubio (F-FL) if he wanted to clarify his criticism of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, because “some have seen them as a criticism of the president” of the United States.

On Tuesday, Rubio published several tweets regarding Trump, Kim Jong Un, and the summit.

He tweeted that the summit “exposed incredible hypocrisy of many in media,” pointing to the differences between coverage of Obama with Cuba’s Raul Castro and coverage of Trump with Kim.

However, he also said the U.S. should be “skeptical of any deal with #KJU” and declared “any ‘deal’ that doesn’t ultimately bring an end to these atrocities [such as indoctrination, prison gulags, and executions] under #KimJongUn is not a good deal.”

The New York Times article Rubio linked to describes a 2014 United Nations report on North Korea, which detailed human rights crimes and violations committed by the North Korean government such as “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”

In December 2017, the Washington Post reported an Auschwitz survivor had concluded the North Koreans concentration camps “are as terrible, or even worse” than the Nazi camps.

Rubio also criticized Kim on a personal level:

Yesterday, when Rubio was on Fox’s America’s Newsroom, host Sandra Smith pointed out that Rubio’s criticism of Kim Jong Un as a “total weirdo” differed from the way Trump described the North Korean dictator. Trump has described Kim as a “very talented” man who “loves his people.” She asked Rubio if he wanted to “clarify” his remarks:

You’ve been tweeting a lot over the past 24 hours, and some have looked at your tweets as not only a criticism of Kim Jong Un, but some have seen them as a criticism of the president. As you just did now, you called Kim Jong Un a ‘weirdo,’ you said, ‘he’s a total weirdo who would not be elected assistant dog catcher in any democracy.’ The president, he sits down with Sean Hannity tonight and he’s talking about Kim Jong Un as somebody who appeared to be funny, he’s smart, the president has said of him. So, could you clarify? Was your criticism there anything about the president?

What a peculiar question. Trump is clearly wrong to praise Kim Jong Un. In the midst of Rubio calling out an evil dictator who commits human rights violations against his own people, a Fox News host was more concerned about whether that was criticism of the president, who praised the dictator.

Rubio refused to walk his comments back.

“No, there’s nothing to clarify,” Rubio said.

He pointed out the president of the United States “was democratically elected by the people of this country, and in two-and-a-half years, people will have the chance to vote for him or against him,” while “Kim Jong Un has never been elected to anything” and “inherited from his father and grandfather his dictatorship.”

Rubio also reiterated the atrocities Kim has inflicted on North Koreans: “He has murdered people, he has put people in death camps — deep suffering by the people of North Korea… he kills people abroad, including his brother and others.”

Rubio closed by stating, “It is what it is, and I’m not going to ignore that reality. That’s just a fact, these are not things that I’m making up, they are real.”

Watch the clip below:

 

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.