Kansas lawmaker says he would rather give money to North Korea than to public radio


A conservative Kansas lawmaker posted a tweet Wednesday suggesting he would rather give money to North Korea than to Kansas Public Radio.

Rep. J.R. Claeys, R-Salina, made that comment Wednesday morning as KPR was trying to raise money during its “Power Hour” event, a single-morning fundraising drive that precedes the regular fall pledge drive.

Around 7:45 a.m., KPR’s Statehouse reporter Stephen Koranda tweeted, “There’s still time to support KPR and our #ksleg coverage during the power breakfast today.”

To which, Claeys replied: “I’d sooner give to DPRK News. At least their praise of dear leader is under duress.”

“DPRK” refers to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, more commonly known as North Korea.

An outgoing message on Claeys’ telephone indicated that he was out of the country until Sept. 11. However, in response to a direct message via Twitter asking for him to clarify his remark, Claeys wrote: “Why would anyone be surprised that a republican would publicly balk at funding a democrat radio station?”

North Korea and the United States, of course, have been in an adversarial relationship recently and for decades.

During the active period of the Korean War, from 1950 through 1953, the Pentagon estimates that 36,914 U.S. soldiers died in the campaign to repel North Korea’s invasion of South Korea.

So far in 2017, North Korea has launched at least 21 test missiles and had conducted a number of underground tests of nuclear weapons, as part of a strategy that military officials say appears designed to threaten the United States and its Pacific Rim allies with nuclear warfare.