(CNSNews.com) – In an interview with CBS on Sunday, President Trump called North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un a “smart cookie.” Then on Monday, Trump said he would be “honored” to meet with Kim.
“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely -- I would be honored to do it. If it’s under the -- again, under the right circumstances. But I would -- I would do that,” Trump said in an interview with Bloomberg News.
Trump noted that he’s getting praise for meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday. “And people are saying that’s a very good thing to do, because I’d like to see peace in the Middle East and I’d like to see the Palestinians and the Israelis come together and Israel come together and have peace.”
The president repeated that “under the right circumstances” he would be willing to meet with Kim Jong-un.
“Look, we have tremendous power over there, and we cannot allow him to do what he’s doing. We cannot allow him to say what he’s saying. He’s making very provocative statements. We cannot allow that.”
Trump said he will not allow North Korea to reach the point where it can launch missiles into the United States. “Plus we happen to have great allies in that area, and I feel very strongly toward those allies. So, yes, under the right circumstances, I would absolutely meet with him.”
He continued: "Now, most political people would never say that. But I’m telling you, under the right circumstances, I would meet with him. We have breaking news,” Trump joked.
Later on Monday, at the White House press briefing, a reporter noted that Kim Jong-un has starved his own people and threatened to nuke the United States.
“How could he be honored to meet with Kim Jong-un?” the reporter asked Trump spokesman Sean Spicer.
“Well, the president understands the threat that North Korea poses, and he will do whatever is necessary under the right circumstances to protect our country from the threat that they pose,” Spicer responded.
“Why would that be an honor?” ABC’s Jon Karl repeated.
“Jonathan, I -- I guess because he is still a head of state, so it's -- it -- it is, sort of -- there's a diplomatic piece to this.
"But the bottom line is, the president's going to do what he has to do. And right now, he's building a coalition in the region to isolate North Korea, both economically and diplomatically, to get the threat -- to -- to take that threat down."
Karl also wanted to know what Trump meant when he called Kim a “smart cookie.”
“Well, I think his point was -- he -- he went over this in the interview -- that he assumed power at a -- at a young age when his father passed away, and there was a lot of potential threats that could have come his way, and he's obviously managed to -- to lead a country forward despite the obvious concerns that we and so many other people have. The -- you know, he is a young person to be leading a country with nuclear weapons,” Spicer said.
“And so, that set aside, I think the president recognizes the threat that he poses, and is doing everything he can to isolate that threat and to make sure that we bring stability to the region.”