Trump: North Koreans love Kim
President Trump on Tuesday said the people of North Korea “love” the country’s leader Kim Jong Un despite previously condemning the country’s human rights abuses.
“His country does love him,” Trump said in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos following the historic summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore.
Trump said “you see the fervor” the North Koreans have for their leader.
“They’re gonna put it together, and I think they’re going to end up with a very strong country, and a country which has people — that they’re so hard working, so industrious,” Trump said.
Stephanopoulos, however, pressed Trump on his reversal from previous criticism over the oppressive regime that’s been accused of multiple human rights abuses.
“You say his people love him,” Stephanopoulos retorted. “Just a few months ago you accused him of starving his people.”
Trump said in January during the State of the Union address that North Korea has “more brutally oppressed its people than any regime on Earth.”
Stephanopoulos pressed the issue, saying Kim is a brutal dictator who runs a police state with labor camps and forced starvation.
“He’s assassinated members of his own family,” Stephanopoulos added. “How do you trust a killer like that?”
Trump said he can only judge Kim based on his interactions with him.
“I mean, this is what we have, and this is where we are, and I can only tell you from my experience, and I met him. I’ve spoken with him, and I’ve met him,” Trump said.
Trump also noted that things can change in the relationship, saying, “Will I come back to you in a year and you’ll be interviewing me and I’ll say, ‘Gee, I made a mistake?’ That’s always possible.”
Trump said Kim “wants to do the right thing” and that begins with denuclearization.
“Now, with all of that being said, I can’t talk about — it doesn’t matter,” Trump added.
Trump said at a press conference following the summit that human rights abuses happen “in a lot of places” when he was asked if he would reverse his previous criticism of Kim’s regime.
“I believe it’s a rough situation over there,” Trump told reporters. “It’s rough in a lot of places, by the way, not just there.”