North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (R) walks with US President Donald Trump (L) during a break in talks at their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella...
Saul Loeb

Trump gushes about Kim Jong-un’s intelligence, ‘great personality’

Updated

The Rachel Maddow Show, 6/12/18, 12:00 AM ET

Trump political showmanship not to be overlooked in summit news

Rachel Maddow and Nicolle Wallace point out the extent to which the Singapore summit is a political performance and media spectacle for domestic consumption for Donald Trump.
Donald Trump has, in recent months, offered some inexplicable praise for North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, calling the dictator “open,” “honorable,” and “a pretty smart cookie.”

But now that the American president has actually spent some time with Kim, Trump is taking the praise to a whole new level. For example, here’s what the Republican told VOA contributor Greta Van Susteren:

“Really, he’s got a great personality. He’s a funny guy, he’s very smart, he’s a great negotiator. He loves his people, not that I’m surprised by that, but he loves his people. […]

“He has to be a rough guy or he has been a rough person. But we got along very well. He’s smart, loves his people, he loves his country.”

Reminded that Kim Jong-un has starved and brutalized his own people, Trump replied, “Look, he’s doing what he’s seen done, if you look at it.”

At his press conference, Trump went to say that Kim “is very talented.” Asked if he still believes the people of North Korea are “more brutally oppressed” than “any regime on Earth,” the Republican added, “I believe it’s a rough situation over there. It’s rough in a lot of places, by the way, not just there.”

Asked by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos whether he trusts Kim, Trump replied, “I do trust him, yeah.” (In the same interview, the president added, in reference to Kim, “His country does love him. His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor.”)

Finally, Trump also boasted overnight about having “developed a very special bond” with the North Korean leader.

The president may not want to think about this, but Rachel noted during MSNBC’s coverage last night, “North Korea is the most repressive dictatorship on earth, arguably. Concentration camps. Re-education camps. Deliberate starvation of their own people as punishment. It was only last February that this dictator assassinated his own half-brother with VX nerve agent….

“Just in the State of the Union address this January, this year, President Trump hosted a North Korean defector – a man who was an amputee who had been tortured in prison, whose father was tortured to death, whose grandmother was starved to death. There’s a reason why no U.S. president has ever agreed to give the North Korean dictatorship what it’s wanted for so long.”

And there’s a reason it was unthinkable that an American leader would publicly gush over this brutal dictator’s personality, intelligence, sense of humor, and “love” for his people.

It’d be so much more reassuring if Donald Trump spoke of our allies with the affection and admiration he’s now shown for one of the world’s most brutal and repressive dictators.

Donald Trump and North Korea

Trump gushes about Kim Jong-un's intelligence, 'great personality'

Updated