Pompeo: Giuliani ‘doesn’t speak for the administration’ on North Korea

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday dismissed recent comments made by President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani about North Korea, saying the former mayor does not speak for the administration on that issue.

“I know Rudy,” Pompeo said at a briefing on Trump’s upcoming North Korea summit. “Rudy doesn’t speak for the administration when it comes to this negotiation and this set of issues.”

While at a business conference in Israel on Wednesday, former New York City Mayor Giuliani said North Korea’s Kim Jong Un “begged” Trump to hold their planned summit after the president cancelled it in response to escalating rhetoric from Pyongyang.


“They also said they were going to go to nuclear war with us, they were going to defeat us in a nuclear war,” Giuliani said. “We said we’re not going to have a summit under those circumstances.

“Well, Kim Jong Un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in,” he added.

The comments raised eyebrows as some worried belittling Kim could put the summit in jeopardy yet again. Trump is set to meet Tuesday with Kim in Singapore, the first meeting ever between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.

On Thursday, Pompeo said he took Giuliani’s comments as a joke.

“I took him as it being a small room and not being serious about the comments,” Pompeo said. “I think it was a bit in jest.”

Asked if Giuliani put the summit in jeopardy, Pompeo said, “We’re moving forward. We’re focused on the important things.”

This week was not the first time Giuliani has spoken out of turn on North Korea. In May, Giuliani teased the release of the three U.S. hostages from North Korea before any formal announcements. 

After that incident, a State Department spokeswoman said Giuliani “speaks for himself and not on behalf of the administration on foreign policy.”

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