Missouri’s Republican U.S. Senator Roy Blunt appeared on Meet the Press during a nine minute segment Sunday. While speaking with host Chuck Todd, he said the U.S. policy of sanctions toward North Korea had been ineffective for 20 years.
He praised President Donald Trump for taking a tougher line by acknowledging military action and extreme economic measures are possible. “I think the President putting everything on the table is not a bad thing right now, both for North Korea, but maybe more importantly for China to be thinking about how consequential this behavior is,” said Blunt.
Both China and Russia have been accused by American politicians and military personnel of being soft on North Korea. North Korea successfully tested what is thought to be its most powerful nuclear weapon Sunday in an underground blast. The event is seen as a major embarrassment for China’s President Xi Jinping. Blunt sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
During his appearance, Blunt said that Republicans in Congress would likely not try to block the raising of the debt ceiling, which they’re scheduled to vote on this month. He acknowledged Hurricane Harvey had altered thinking of lawmakers who may have had thoughts of shutting the government down.
Blunt said relief money needed to be allocated quickly in the aftermath of the devastating weather event. He seemed to be open to a plan to approve a spending plan along with funding for hurricane recovery.
Trump has suggested he would seek nearly $8 billion up front for disaster relief. He’s suggested he’ll seek an additional $6.7 billion to refill the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund as part of the anticipated stopgap spending measure to fund the government before it runs out of money at the end of September.
Blunt criticized east coast lawmakers for attempting to secure far too much money up front after Hurricane Sandy struck the eastern seaboard in 2012.
When Todd asked about the contentious relationship that’s developed between the President and Republicans in Congress, Blunt said it was important to understand that the executive and legislative bodies are two separate branches of government.
He credited President Trump with having superior communication skills. “I will tell you the one thing the President understands better than anybody in the country today is to how to drive a message, how to communicate with people using news ways of communication. Frankly, he’s just a lot better at that than anybody else is.”
Blunt was critical of former Missouri Republican Senator John Danforth’s Washington Post column which called Trump the most divisive president in the country’s history. “It is a mistake to suggest that somehow this President who was elected, just as the constitution prescribed, and has the responsibility to lead the country, that somehow we need to not work with this President, I think is a bad road to go down.”
He said Trump had an effective message when he spoke in Springfield last week, emphasizing more jobs and better take home pay.
“That’s a message that resonates in the country. We’re almost at the end of a full decade where peoples take home pay and what they can spend on their family has not increased. The President wants to see that happen. We ought to all be focused on making that happen. That will be one of the real tests of whether this Congress and this President can do the job.”