Trump pushes back over North Korea quote
The Wall Street Journal quoted Trump as saying in an interview Thursday: “I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-Un.” But the White House insisted he said “I’d,” not “I”, and Trump followed up in a tweet on Sunday.Updated: Jan 14, 2018 20:02 IST
Agence France-Presse, Washington
US President Donald Trump pushed back at a report that he had suggested he had a good relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, saying he had been misquoted.
The Wall Street Journal quoted Trump as saying in an interview Thursday: “I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-Un.”
But the White House insisted he said “I’d,” not “I”, and Trump followed up in a tweet on Sunday.
“Obviously I didn’t say that. I said ‘I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,’ a big difference. Fortunately we now record conversations with reporters,” he tweeted.
“And they knew exactly what I said and meant. They just wanted a story. FAKE NEWS!”
Both The Wall Street Journal and the White House posted audio recordings of Trump’s remarks on Twitter.
These, while not completely clear, appeared to support White House press secretary Sarah Sanders’ account. She had earlier tweeted a written message disputing the newspaper’s article.
“President Trump said, I’D probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. I’D -- I’D -- I’D. NOT I!” the message read, with “I’D” in red ink, under a red banner reading “FAKE NEWS.”
Mockingly mimicking the newspaper’s front page, it then reads “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL -- FAKE NEWS IS AT IT AGAIN! -- FALSELY QUOTING PRESIDENT TRUMP.”
Washington and Pyongyang are in a standoff over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, which could be used to target the United States and its allies.
Trump has repeatedly insulted the North Korean leader, describing him as mad and a “rocket man.”
Asked by The Wall Street Journal if he had spoken to Kim, Trump said: “I don’t want to comment on it. I’m not saying I have or haven’t. I just don’t want to comment.”
Trump suggested his variable position on individuals was part of a broader strategy.
But it was not clear how his remarks fitted with his self-described policy of “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang.
In the coming week the United States and Canada are to host a meeting in Vancouver on the nuclear standoff with North Korea, bringing together friendly powers from around the world.
First Published: Jan 14, 2018 19:51 IST