Tapper on North Korea summit: ‘It’s not as if other presidents couldn’t have done this, it’s that they didn’t want to’

CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday weighed in on the Trump-Kim summit arguing that other presidents did not meet with North Korean leaders to avoid giving their dictatorships “prestige.”

“It’s not as if other presidents couldn’t have done this,” Tapper said of Trump’s historic meeting with the North Korean leader. “It’s that they didn’t want to.”

Tapper, the host of CNN shows “The Lead” and “State of the Union,” prefaced his comments that past presidents decided not to meet for direct talks with North Korea because “the concern was, you don’t want to give North Korea that kind of prestige.”


“You don’t want to elevate them without having something guaranteed in terms of what they are actually willing to do, in terms of denuclearization, in terms of what Secretary of State Pompeo constantly refers to as ‘irreversible and verifiable denuclearization.’ ”


Tapper’s comments come after President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday announced an agreement committing the U.S. to undesignated “security guarantees” in exchange for North Korea denuclearization. 

“I think our whole relationship with North Korea and the Korean peninsula is going to be a very different situation than it has in the past,” Trump said during a signing ceremony. 

“We’ve developed a very special bond,” the president said regarding his relationship with Kim.

The rhetoric is a departure for Trump, who in the past referred to Kim as “little rocket man” on multiple occasions as tensions soared in 2017 amid North Korean missile tests, which included one missile that traveled over Japan. 

Trump on Tuesday told Fox’s Sean Hannity that while he “hated” such rhetoric and “sometimes felt foolish,” direct talks may not have been possible without it.

“Well, I think without the rhetoric we wouldn’t have been here,” Trump told Hannity in an interview that will be broadcast in full Wednesday in primetime. “I really believe that.”


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