- President Donald Trump expressed admiration for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s rule over his country.
- Trump called Kim “a tough guy” for being able to “take over a country” at 27-years-old.
- In 2017, Trump made similar comments about Kim. Trump described Kim as a “a pretty smart cookie” for cementing his dictatorial rule after his father, Kim Jong-il, died in 2011.
President Donald Trump expressed admiration for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s firm grip of his country during an interview with Fox News anchor Bret Baier aboard Air Force One.
“He’s a tough guy,” Trump said to Baier as he departed Singapore on Wednesday evening. “Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, with tough people, and you take it over from your father – I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have.”
“If you can do that at 27-years-old, I mean, that’s one in 10,000 that can do that,” Trump added. “So he’s a very smart guy. He’s a great negotiator. But I think we understand each other.”
Trump seemed to ignore Baier’s reminders that Kim has killed people – including his own uncle and his half-brother – in the name of keeping his grip on power.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 13, 2018
In 2017, Trump made similar comments about Kim. Trump described Kim as “a pretty smart cookie” for cementing his dictatorial rule after his father, Kim Jong-il, died in 2011. Starting with Kim Il-sung, North Korean leaders have passed down their rule to their heirs.
“He’s dealing with obviously very tough people, in particular the generals and others,” Trump said during a CBS interview. “And at a very young age, he was able to assume power.”
“A lot of people, I’m sure, tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else, Trump said. “And he was able to do it.”
Trump departed Singapore after his landmark summit with Kim on Tuesday. As the first sitting US president to meet with a North Korean leader, Trump hailed the meeting as a success and proposed a new era of US-North Korean relations after signing a joint statement that outlined broad agreements.
In the weeks leading up to the Trump-Kim summit, the North Korean leader held a face-to-face meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and also released three Korean-American prisoners held in captivity, signalling, at least for the interim, that he was willing to resume diplomatic ties with the international community.
Following the summit, Trump indicated he would also make concessions for Pyongyang, including scaling back military exercises with South Korea.
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