ABC’s George Stephanopoulos scored President Donald Trump’s first broadcast sit-down in a year, meeting in Singapore with POTUS at the hotel in which the president had just concluded his meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
North Korea will denuclearize, Trump asserted to Stephanopoulos, who reminded Trump he’d previously blasted Kim for starving his own people, running labor camps and assassinating members of his own family.
“George, I’m given what I’m given,” Trump responded. “This is what we have, this is where we are, and I can only tell you from my experience, and I’ve met him, I’ve spoken with him. I’ve met him. And this is, this has started early and it’s been very intense.”
“I think that he really wants to do a great job for North Korea,” Trump insisted. “I think he wants to de-nuke; without that, there’s nothing to discuss. It was on the table from the beginning, and you see a total de-nuclearization of North Korea — so important. And, he wants to do the right thing. Now, what it is I can’t talk about — it doesn’t matter. We’re starting from scratch. We’re starting right now, and we have to get rid of those nuclear weapons.”
The topic of pulling U.S. troops out of South Korea did not come up, Trump said when asked. But, Trump added, “We’re not going to play the war games…I thought they were very provocative. I also thought they’re also very expensive.”
Trump said he trusts Kim.
“Over my lifetime I’ve done a lot of deals with a lot of people. And sometimes the people you most distrust turn out to be the most honorable ones and the people that you do trust turn out to be not the honorable ones,” Trump said.
“I believe he wants to get it done… I do trust him.”
“Maybe in a year you’ll be interviewing and I’ll say I made a mistake. It’s possible. We’re dealing at a high level, a lot of things can change a lot of things are possible,” he said.
Trump hinted at another meeting and said “I would love to have him at the White House. Whatever it takes.”
Tuesday’s Singapore sit-down marked the first time a U.S. president in office has met face-to-face with a North Korean leader. About 45 minutes after meeting Kim for the first time and going into the private meeting, Trump told reporters that his one-on-one with Kim had been “very, very good” and said the two have an “excellent relationship.”
Kim did not respond to shouted questions as to whether he will give up his country’s nuclear weapons.