Trump Suggests He Has 'Very Good Relationship' with North Korea's Kim
President Donald Trump suggested Tuesday he is on very good terms with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un despite their recent debate over whose desk has a bigger nuclear button.
"I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un," Trump told The Wall Street Journal Thursday, adding, "I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised."
When asked if he has talked to Kim, Trump replied, "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 has in the past called Kim "short and fat" and "a bad dude." He has been fond of mocking Kim as "little rocket man" because of North Korean missile tests.
Kim has called Trump a "mentally deranged dotard" and has threatened to tame him with fire.
Trump appeared to tell the Journal that his tweeted insults and the cryptic comment about good relations with Kim is part of his strategy.
"You'll see that a lot with me," he said about his tweets. "And then all of the sudden somebody's my best friend. I could give you 20 examples. ... I'm a very flexible person."
The president has gone back and forth between an apparent willingness to meet with Kim and calling such talks, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's overtures to the North, a waste of time.
Just this past Wednesday, Trump told South Korean President Moon Jae-in by telephone he is now open to talking to North Korea "at the appropriate time under the right circumstances."
Trump also said he hopes this week's talks between North and South Korea -- the first in two years -- will "lead to success for the world."
Trump Looks to Build on Tax Victory
2018 promises to be a year of challenge and opportunity for President Donald Trump, both domestically and overseas. Trump hopes to build on his victory on tax cuts late last year. But the president and his Republican allies in Congress will likely face strong political headwinds this year leading up to the November midterm congressional elections.
Even as he looks ahead to his second year in office, Trump likes to remind everyone about victory last month on a tax bill. “It is going to be tough to beat the year we just left because what we had last year was something very special, especially to cap it off with the tremendous tax cuts and tax reform,” Trump recently told reporters.
Trump's White House got off to a rocky start this year with publication of the controversial book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff. The book's highly critical assessment of the president set off a political firestorm and raised questions about his fitness for office, especially among Democrats.
Trump and his aides slammed the book as mostly fiction. “There are numerous mistakes, but I am not going to waste my time or the country’s time going page by page talking about a book that is complete fantasy,” said press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during one exchange with reporters at the White House.
Republican congressional leaders including House Speaker Paul Ryan would prefer to talk policy, not personality, especially in the wake of the tax cut win. "There are people who are just coming up to us and saying, ‘this is working, I’m getting bigger paychecks, I got a bonus,’ or ‘I’m expanding my small business and I’m going to hire more people.’ So that is exciting.”
Analysts say the furor over the book has once again sharpened the political divide over the president. “What I think the book will do is fit into pre-existing notions for some people that the president is mentally unstable or is having challenges with decline,” said Brookings Institution scholar John Hudak. “But for the president’s supporters this book is going to be seen as a fabrication and as something not to be taken seriously.”
A poll this week found President Trump’s approval rating at 36 percent while 59 percent disapprove of his presidency. The survey also found voters prefer Democrats to take over control of the Congress next year by a margin of 52 to 35 percent.
The New York Times noted this week that when a president’s approval is under 50 percent, the president’s party has an average loss of 40 House seats in the midterm. Democrats need a net gain of 24 House seats to retake control of that chamber, and two seats to take the majority in the Senate.