White House clarifies Melania Trump hasn't met Kim Jong Un after Trump comment

The White House on Monday clarified that first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump marks reopening of Washington Monument, takes ride to top Melania Trump to ring stock exchange opening bell on Monday On The Money: Fed delivers second rate cut to fend off global risks | Trump says Fed has 'no guts' | House gets deal on continuing resolution | GM faces bipartisan backlash amid strike MORE has not met North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnDennis Rodman: 'Kim Jong Un will be in America in 18 to 24 months' Kim invited Trump to visit North Korea amid stalled nuclear talks: report Trump to have dinner with Otto Warmbier's parents: report MORE after President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE suggested at a press conference earlier in the day that she knew the dictator well.

The president was likening the prospect of negotiations with Iran to his efforts to denuclearize North Korea during a press conference to cap his visit to the Group of Seven (G-7) summit. Trump praised Kim, who he said recognizes the country's economic possibilities.


"Kim Jong Un — who I’ve gotten to know extremely well; the first lady has gotten to know Kim Jong Un, and I think she’d agree with me — he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential,” Trump said.

Cameras briefly showed the first lady sitting in the audience, where she remained expressionless.

The White House released a statement Monday afternoon about the remarks.

“President Trump confides in his wife on many issues including the detailed elements of his strong relationship with Chairman Kim — and while the First Lady hasn’t met him, the President feels like she’s gotten to know him too," said White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser marred by protests Trump names finalists for national security adviser MORE, who also served as Melania Trump's spokeswoman. 

The first lady has not been present for any of the three face-to-face meetings between Trump and Kim.

The two leaders first met in Singapore in June 2018. Melania Trump was unable to fly at the time following a kidney procedure.

Melania Trump was not present when her husband met with Kim in Vietnam earlier this year, nor was she there was the president stopped in the Demilitarized Zone in June.

Trump has indicated he expects to meet with Kim again. Talks have thus far failed to yield concrete progress on denuclearization, and North Korea has resumed testing of short-range missiles.

The president has said he does not believe the launches violate any agreement, though allies have said they breach a United Nations security resolution.