President Donald Trump said that even if he no longer trusted North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, he would not say so because “it would be very insulting to him,” but thankfully for Kim’s feelings, Trump went on to say that he does still trust Kim.
In yet another telling exchange during his series of interviews with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Trump closely guarded the relationship he has cultivated with the dictator whom Trump says he has fallen “in love” with.
During a sit-down in the Rose Garden, Stephanopoulos asked Trump about his blunt declaration, one year ago, that “there’s no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.”
“But there is a nuclear threat today, isn’t there?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Well, it could change,” Trump replied. “I would say not much. There’s been no testing, no anything. But it could change.”
North Korea conducted two short-range missile tests within the space of a week in early May, which Trump would acknowledge during the interview.
“But they have stockpiles,” Stephanopoulos interrupted. A recent study estimated that North Korea possesses a stockpile of up to 30 nuclear warheads.
In an exchange that was edited from the broadcast of the interview, but included in the transcript, Trump then offered to show Stephanopoulos a letter he had received from Kim, and praised the dictator as “tough” and “smart.”
“I will actually show you the letter,” Trump said. “But– I’d show it to you a little bit off the record. But it was– a very nice letter. But I’ve received many very nice letters. And he’s a very tough guy. He’s a very smart person. He doesn’t treat a lot of people very well, but he’s been treating me well. Now, at some point that may change. And then I’ll have to change, too. But right now, we have a very good, you know, relationship. We have a really very strong relationship.”
“So you still trust him?” Stephanopoulos asked, a question which was included in the broadcast.
“Well, look, I, I don’t, I — first of all, if I didn’t, I couldn’t tell you that,” Trump said, adding “It would be very insulting to him.”
“But the answer is, yeah, I believe that he would like to do something,” Trump continued. “I believe he respects me. It doesn’t mean it’s going to get done. This has been going on for many, many decades with the family. But I get along with him really well, I think I understand him, and I think he understands me.”
Asked if he still believes Kim is building nuclear weapons, Trump replied: “I don’t know. I hope not. He promised me he wouldn’t be. He promised we– me he wouldn’t be testing.”
And in another portion that was edited from the broadcast, Trump said, “I think he’d like to meet again. And I think he likes me a lot. And I think– you know, I think that we have a chance to do something.”
Trump has gone out of his way to praise Kim Jong Un, and recently shared his love of heckling former Vice President Joe Biden with the dictator.