Former Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., -- who has announced that he will travel to North Korea with Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt as early as this month -- brushed aside the State Department's expressed disapproval of the trip Friday on "CBS This Morning," saying, "I don't work for the U.S. government; neither does Eric Schmidt."
"I know the State Department is a little nervous," Richardson said, "but we did postpone this trip already. Eric and I were going in December, and at the request of the State Department, we postponed it because of the South Korean presidential election."
"We're not representing the State Department, so they shouldn't be that nervous," he added.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Thursday, "We don't think the timing of this is particularly helpful, but they are private citizens and they are making their own decisions."
Richardson, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, described his trip as a "private humanitarian visit" and emphasized his diplomatic experience as evidence that the State Department's anxiety is misplaced.
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