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Rep. Ruben Gallego Statement on Trump’s Upcoming North Korea Summit

February 25, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) released the following statement ahead of President Trump’s scheduled meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un.

“What happens in Korea affects us and the entire world. That is why I’ve spent the last two years trying to ensure that President Trump doesn’t mortgage our national security for the sake of a photo-op with a dangerous adversary in Kim Jong-un,” Rep. Gallego said.

“I will always work to preserve the safety of our armed forces and the security of our nation by ensuring the closest of connections between our country and our allies. As ever, a just and prosperous peace remains the goal of the United States and its friends worldwide.”

See below for a timeline of Rep. Gallego’s leadership on this issue:

August 2017: Rep. Gallego speaks out against Trump’s rhetoric and push for war with North Korea and urges further economic sanctions aimed at countries that continue to trade with North Korea.

September 2017: Rep. Gallego and Rep. Ted Lieu write to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis requesting a casualty estimate of a potential conflict with North Korea.

November 2017: The Pentagon responds to Reps. Gallego and Lieu advising that a ground invasion would be necessary to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons an that the United States and its allies could expect hundreds of thousands of military and civilian casualties in a war with North Korea.

December 2017: Rep. Gallego and Rep. Lieu co-author an op-ed detailing the catastrophic human costs of war with North Korea in, highlighting the incompetence and callousness of Trump’s position and the likely deaths of tens of thousands of soldiers and millions of civilians.

January 2018: Rep. Gallego and Sen. Tammy Duckworth visit South Korea and Japan and spend four days meeting with America’s top military leaders and diplomats in the region, with Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministers from Japan and South Korea, with North Korean defectors, human rights activists, and American servicemembers. They also toured the Demilitarized Zone (“DMZ”) on the border with North Korea.

January 2018: Rep. Gallego and Sen. Duckworth brief reporters regarding grave concerns about President Trump’s handling of the situation in North Korea following their trip to the region.

January 2018: Rep. Gallego and Rep. Lieu co-author an op-ed pushing back on irresponsible pushes by conservative intellectuals to bomb North Korea.

May 2018: Rep. Gallego introduces an amendment to the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act that would ensure that U.S. active duty forces in the Republic of Korea will not fall below 22,000 troops without a certification by the Secretary of Defense that any drop below that number is necessary to the national defense and will not significantly undermine allied security in the region. The amendment is approved by unanimous consent and is passed into law.

June 2018: Rep. Gallego hosts South Korean Ambassador Cho Yoon-je to discus the tenuous situation on the Korean peninsula and how Congress and the United States can continue to secure the peace through mutual defense with its close South Korean friend and ally.

June 2018: Rep. Gallego sends a letter to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis demanding clarity and basic facts concerning President Trump’s decision to unilaterally cancel military exercises with South Korea.

July 2018: Rep. Gallego and Armed Services Committee Democrats write to President Trump demanding details of the Administration’s supposed plan to achieve denuclearization within one year, including whether Trump will consider the imposition of new sanctions or the resumption of military exercises with South Korea following reports that the Kim regime’s nuclear program has continued unabated.

July 2018: President Trump signs the FY2019 NDAA into law, including Rep. Gallego’s provision ensuring that active U.S. troop levels in the Republic of Korea remain above 22,000 unless Secretary Mattis certifies that our national security and that of our allies would not be diminished by a reduction in that number.

December 2018: Rep. Gallego and Rep. Mike Gallagher introduce the Telecommunications Denial Order Enforcement Act, a bill that would mandate severe penalties on Chinese state-directed companies Huawei and ZTE if they are found to have violated U.S. sanctions, including secondary sanctions relating to China’s support for North Korea.

January 2019: Rep. Gallego and Armed Services Committee Democrats request a resumption of military exercises with South Korea to support the links between our countries and to prevent North Korean attempts to take advantage of the Trump Administration’s incompetence and naiveite to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington.

February 2019: Rep. Gallego welcomes Speaker Moon Hae-sang to Congress to meet with fellow Members of the Korea Caucus to discuss measures to continue and deepen the U.S.-South Korea relationship.


Rep. Ruben Gallego is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a Marine Corps combat veteran.