2020 candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders says he doesn't 'fault Trump' on North Korea

"It is not an easy situation," Sanders said in an interview for "This Week."

May 4, 2019, 6:27 PM

Sen. Bernie Sanders, one of the early front-runners in the 2020 Democratic presidential field, said Saturday that President Donald Trump's handling of North Korea is one area where he doesn't "fault" the current commander-in-chief.

Speaking to ABC News' Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl in an exclusive interview for "This Week," the Vermont senator said that Trump meeting face-to-face with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "is the right thing to do."

Senator Bernie Sanders speaks to a gathering of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Plains Twp., Pa. on Monday, April 15, 2019.
Christopher Dolan/Times-Tribune via AP

Karl asked Sanders how he would respond as president to the apparent launch of unidentified short-range projectiles by North Korea into the Sea of Japan Friday night.

"You know, this is one area, actually, where I do not fault Trump. I think the idea of sitting down with Kim Jong Un is the right thing to do. It is very, very difficult, but clearly they are a threat to the planet," Sanders said. "They are isolated. They're demagogic, and we have just got to do everything we can to have China and the people in the Pacific Rim put as much pressure on North Korea and make it clear that they cannot continue to act this way.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after attending a wreath laying ceremony at a navy memorial in Vladivostok, Russia, April 26, 2019.
Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters

"It is not an easy situation," he added.

The 2020 hopeful said he believes the United States needs to "put all of the pressure that we can" on North Korea, both economically and politically.

In a tweet Saturday morning after the projectile launches, Trump still appeared optimistic about U.S.-North Korea relations.

"Anything in this very interesting world is possible," the president tweeted. "But I believe that Kim Jong Un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea, & will do nothing to interfere or end it. He also knows that I am with him & does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen!"

Much more of Jonathan Karl's interview with Sen. Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail in Des Moines, Iowa, will air on "This Week" Sunday morning. The two discuss Sanders' "Medicare-for-all" plan, former Vice President Joe Biden jumping in the race, and how he would take on Trump in a booming economy.

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