In an unusual move on Wednesday, April 26, the White House hosted the entire Senate for a top secret briefing on North Korea. This comes after a time of increased tensions between the United States, North Korea, and China. North Korea has been increasing the speed and intensity of its missile production and missile tests since the inauguration of President Trump, who has promised to take a stronger approach than the Obama Administration.
Senate briefings on important issues are common, but are not often hosted at the White House, which lacks the kind of secure conference rooms required for such briefings. The senators were bussed to the White House from the Senate in the morning. Key members of the cabinet, including Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson briefed the senators, and President Trump himself also made an appearance.
Tensions with North Korea have been rising since the election. The new administration is moving away from what it calls the “strategic patience” of the Obama White House. After meeting with President XI Jinping and chinese officials, the president claimed they had talked about North Korea. The US and China seem to increasingly be finding common ground on China's longtime ally, with China stepping up sanctions on the rogue nation. Despite this, the DPRK is not backing down. It recently celebrated its seventieth anniversary since its founding with a parade and a massive artillery drill that included over 300 long range guns.
Despite this, most senators coming out of the briefing were not impressed.
"We learned nothing you couldn't read in the newspaper," said Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon.. Bob Corker, Republican from Tennessee, said it was “Okay,” while John McCain said: “Nothing New, but still very serious.”