In an unexpected departure from the party line, Hollywood star George Clooney praised President Donald Trump for progress made on North Korea.
Clooney’s acclaim was part of an editorial he co-published in Foreign Affairs magazine on March 14, less than a week after South Korean officials announced that Trump had agreed to meet North Korean communist dictator Kim Jong Un.
“Although it may be too early to say, the fact that Leader Kim Jong Un agreed to a moratorium on missile testing—and that there is now an expected meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump in the works (as controversial as it might be)—suggests that the sanctions over the last year or so have worked,” Clooney wrote.
“So far, the current administration has sanctioned more North Korean targets than were sanctioned during the entire Obama presidency,” he added.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, among others, credited Trump for the progress made on de-escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but Clooney’s comments are a surprise since he is on record repeatedly criticizing Trump on a range of issues. The actor even cursed at the president in an expletive-laden interview in September with the Daily Beast.
The historic meeting between Trump and Kim was made possible by Trump’s assertive foreign policy agenda composed of strict international sanctions and the credible threat of military action.
Moon praised Trump’s stance when North Korea agreed to meet with South Korea in January. That meeting led to an agreement that North Koreans would attend the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Kim’s sister traveled to South Korea for the Olympics, met with president Moon, and invited him to visit North Korea. Moon didn’t immediately agree and instead sent envoys to meet with Kim in Pyongyang. These envoys delivered Kim’s invitation to Trump.
Trump will become the first head of state to meet Kim since the communist dictator took power. Trump has held firm to his condition for any talks with Kim to include discussing denuclearization of North Korea. Kim agreed to Trump’s terms.
“Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze,” Trump tweeted on March 8. “Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!”