Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), deputy chairman of the Democratic National Convention, claimed Friday that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un is more responsible than President Donald Trump. Now, Ellison is retracting that claim.
Ellison's comments came Friday during a question-and-answer session at the Netroots Nation conference, an annual political gathering for progressives.
"North Korea is a serious thing," Ellison said. "You have this guy making bellicose threats against somebody else who has very little to lose over there. Kim Jong Un, the world always thought he was not a responsible leader; well, he's acting more responsible than this guy is."
"Kim Jong-un, the world always thought he wasn't a responsible leader...He's acting more responsible than this guy [Trump] is" -Ellison. Wow pic.twitter.com/95YfBuGAXu— Nick Short 🇺🇸 (@PoliticalShort) August 11, 2017
During his speech, Ellison denounced the use of heated political rhetoric and said diplomacy should be used to ease the increasing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.
"The time for cranking up the antiwar machine is right now," Ellison said, according to the Washington Post. "If you don’t want to be a deer in the headlights, start calling for diplomacy immediately."
After his speech, Ellison retracted his Trump-Kim comparison, telling the Post that saying Kim Jong-Un is more responsible than Trump is "one of those I wish I’d not said," citing the comments' ability to make him look bad.
"It’s tailor-made for somebody to misuse," Ellison said.
Ellison explained that he fears Trump is acting "incredibly irresponsible" and his actions may prompt the North Korean dictator to launch a preemptive strike.
"I’d say he’s being incredibly irresponsible and he’s putting us in a situation where you could have an accidental launch. I mean, his rhetoric might make Kim Jong Un think that he needs to strike first," the Minnesota Democrat explained.
"What we need is someone bringing calm to the situation, not spiking it," he emphasized.
Political and military tension between the U.S. and North Korea continues to grow. On Wednesday, Kim Jong-Un threatened bomb the U.S. territory of Guam in the Western Pacific. Trump has publicly responded to North Korea's aggression with force of his own, saying most recently on Friday that "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely."