President Donald Trump said Monday during a Cabinet meeting that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un prefers communicating with him rather than dealing with his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, claiming Obama tried unsuccessfully nearly a dozen times to get Kim to take his phone calls.
“I like him, he likes me. We get along. I respect him, he respects me,” Trump said of the brutal dictator who he has met in person three times.
Trump on Kim Jong Un: "I like him. He likes me. We get along. I respect him. He respects me. You could end up in a war." Full comments: pic.twitter.com/EFcTcjdXfM
— William Gallo (@GalloVOA) October 21, 2019
Trump said Obama had cautioned him during their transfer of power that North Korea’s nuclear ambition was “the biggest problem. I don’t know how to solve it.”
“He told me he doesn’t know how to solve it. I said, ‘Did you ever call him?’ No,” Trump continued. “Actually, he tried. Eleven times. But the man on the other side, the gentleman on the other side, did not take his call. Okay? Lack of respect. But he takes my call.”
Ben Rhodes, National Security Council spokesman under Obama, tweeted an hour later that “Trump is a serial liar and not well,” and insisted the outreach Trump described on Monday “never” happened.
Obama never called Kim Jong Un. Obama never tried to meet Kim Jong Un. Trump is a serial liar and not well. https://t.co/JSXlII6bK6
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) October 21, 2019
President Obama’s former national security adviser, Susan Rice, tweeted: “This is a total fabrication. Trump is completely delusional, and it’s scary. @GOP wake up!!”
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) October 21, 2019
Trump makes up a conversation in which Obama supposedly told him he didn't know how to solve the North Korean problem and couldn't get Kim Jong Un on the phone. pic.twitter.com/CmkQ8rCVv9
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) October 21, 2019
Trump made a similar claim in June, telling reporters that Obama had wanted to meet Kim but his administration failed to arrange it.
“President Obama wanted to meet, and Chairman Kim would not meet him,” Trump said during a joint press conference in Seoul with South Korean president Moon Jae-in.
“The Obama administration was begging for a meeting. They were begging for meetings constantly. And Chairman Kim would not meet with him,” he claimed.
Obama’s former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, rejected the claim days later.
“In all the deliberations that I participated in on North Korea during the Obama administration, I can recall no instance whatever where President Obama ever indicated any interest whatsoever in meeting with Chairman Kim,” Clapper said then.
“I just – that’s news to me,” he snickered.