GOP senator: Kim Jong Un a 'whack job’

Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerSenate panel could pass new Russia sanctions this summer Overnight Energy: Trump energy nominees face Congress | OPEC to extend production cuts Senators air grievances on Trump energy budget, delays MORE (R-Colo.) in an interview early Wednesday called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “a whack job” whom President Trump should not be flattering.

“I think most people agree that Kim Jong Un is a whack job,” Gardner told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“This is a crazed maniac at the helm of one of the world’s nuclear regimes, trying to become a nuclear regime,” Gardner added.  “We shouldn’t be in the position of flattery.”

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“We shouldn’t be in the position of trying to honor Kim Jong Un by bringing him into a conversation with the United States until he meets those obligations and promises.”

Trump said Monday that he is open to direct talks with Kim amid tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program.

“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” Trump told Bloomberg News.

“Most political people would never say that,” he added. “But I’m telling you under the right circumstances I would meet with him. We have breaking news.”

Trump also said during an interview that aired Sunday that Kim is “a pretty smart cookie.”

“And at a very young age, he was able to assume power,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“A lot of people, I’m sure, tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else. And he was able to do it.”

Kim's uncle, Jang Song-thaek, was executed in 2013 after being accused of working in opposition to the state.

North Korea has rocketed to the top of Trump’s list of world hotspots over its repeated ballistic and nuclear missile tests, which violate global arms pacts.