Several prominent House Republicans blasted the White House Thursday for removing North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, as some of President Bush’s staunchest supporters in the war on terror publically lambasted Bush for engaging the country once famously branded as part of the "axis of evil."
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed her “profound disappointment” over the decision, while Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, also expressed his outrage.
“Lifting sanctions and removing North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism flies in the face of history and rewards its brutal dictator for shallow gestures,” said Hoekstra, who has not shied away from criticizing the White House in recent years.
“Just as the Clinton administration was fooled by the Kim Jong-Il regime, time will soon tell if the Bush administration will fall for the same bait,” he added.
The Clinton comparison is an especially sharp twist of the knife, as many Republicans have often accused the 42nd president of not doing enough to combat terrorism while in office.
After famously declaring North Korea part of the “axis of evil” in 2002, the administration abruptly reversed course on Thursday and announced it was lifting trade sanctions and removing the nation from the terrorism blacklist, after North Korea turned over an account of its nuclear work to the Chinese.
“The Administration’s call for North Korea to be removed from the state sponsors of terrorism list is cause for profound concern,” said Ros-Lehtinen. “Serious verification questions linger, and I would have hoped that the Administration would have shown more caution, and less haste, on a matter of this gravity.”
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