Rep. Rick LarsenRick LarsenDems wants to see results of United Airlines investigation The Hill's 12:30 Report Dems back bill to boost airfare transparency MORE (D-Wash.) said Tuesday that famed NBA rebounder Dennis Rodman has no place in a foreign policy debate, after Rodman rejected the idea he should ask for the release of an American citizen while in North Korea.
"Dennis Rodman should stick to basketball and not cast aspersions on a fellow American who is being held by a foreign nation," Larsen said.
"Do you understand what he did in this country? No, no, no, you tell me, you tell me. Why is he held captive here in this country, why?" Rodman said in a CNN interview. On Monday, Rodman added that North Korea is "not that bad," and has
But Larsen said Rodman's comments are from an uninformed celebrity, and are only complicating the issue. "Kenneth Bae and his family have gone through more than enough without having to listen to these hurtful statements from somebody who clearly does not know what he is talking about," Larsen said.
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also criticized Rodman.
"[I]t is unthinkable that a few fading celebrities would use such an opportunity to reward his brutal regime," Engel said. "This ill-advised trip sends the message that it's business as usual in North Korea — and that there are no international consequences for the regime's brutality against its own people.
"If Dennis Rodman thinks that life in North Korea is 'not that bad,' then perhaps he should cast his gaze beyond the basketball court and see the millions of North Koreans starved, imprisoned or tortured by the Kim regime."
On Tuesday, the White House said Rodman's trip had not been vetted, and spokesman Jay Carney said he would not respond to Rodman's "outburst."
Rodman played for the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. He won five championships with the Pistons and Bulls, averaged 13.1 rebounds a game over his career, and last played in the 1999-2000 season.