Donald Trump is under fire from Republicans for complimenting North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un after his country was admitted to the board of directors of the World Health Organization.
“Congratulations to Kim Jung Un!” the former president wrote on Truth Social, misspelling his name while sharing news of the admission.
The post drew immediate condemnation from GOP presidential hopefuls and state party leaders — including his 2024 chief rival, Ron DeSantis.
Asked about the message at a campaign event in Iowa on Saturday, the Florida governor said, “I was surprised to see this. I mean, one, Kim Jong-un is a murderous dictator.
Mr DeSantis noted that North Korea recently sentenced a family with a young child to life in prison – before transferring their sentence to the WHO.
“The World Health Organization is a bankrupt organization,” he said. “Like, Kim Jong-un is bad but to join this, we have to come out of it and reject the WHO lockdown treaty and not congratulate ourselves for being involved in the WHO.”
Nikki Haley, Mr Trump’s former ambassador to the UN and another 2024 opponent, also berated Mr Trump.
‘Kim Jong Un is starving his own,’ Ms Haley said said on Twitter.
“It’s a complete joke that North Korea has a leading role at the World Health Organization.”
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp writing: “Taking our country back from Joe Biden doesn’t start with congratulating North Korea’s murderous dictator.”
Larry Page, former GOP Maryland Governor also ridiculed Mr. Trump: “Kim Jong-un is an enemy of America who threatens peace and freedom. The fact that Trump delusionally thinks otherwise makes him a useful idiot for China and unfit to be president.
Mr. Trump enjoyed a warm relationship with Mr. Kim during his tenure as president, frequently praising the 39-year-old despot and becoming the first sitting US leader to visit the isolated communist country.
He even bragged about exchanging “love letters” with Mr Kim, who frequently threatens the United States and its allies with nuclear attack.
Others highlighted the uniqueness of their relationship.
“Fanboying a murderous dictator while misspelling his name is very on-brand for him,” actor Mark Hamill wrote on Twitter.
Dr Jong Min Pak this week became the first North Korean official to be appointed for a three-year term on the WHO’s board.
“It means that one of the world’s most horrific regimes is now part of a group that sets and enforces the norms and standards of global health care governance,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel. Neuer, in a statement.
“This is an absurd episode for a key UN agency that badly needs soul-searching and reform.”
The others to join the board are Australia, Barbados, Cameroon, Comoros, Lesotho, Qatar, Switzerland, Togo and Ukraine.
Several recent appointments of serial human rights abusers to leadership positions in international organizations have also been condemned.
Russia took over the UN Security Council in April, while Iran chairs the 2023 UN Human Rights Council Social Forum.
A South Korean lawmaker said this week that Mr Kim was obese and suffered from severe insomnia and alcoholism.