President Donald Trump suggested that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is still alive, despite rumors that he is either gravely ill or dead.
CNN reported last week that Kim was in “grave danger” after surgery, and NBC News’ Katy Tur tweeted that he was actually dead.
However, reports from South Korea disputed those claims, and President Trump openly questioned CNN’s reporting the day after it emerged, saying: “I don’t put too much credence in it.”
On Monday, reporters at a coronavirus press briefing in the Rose Garden at the White House pressed the issue.
From the White House transcript:
Q: Have you gotten any update on Kim Jong Un’s health? Has he responded to your letter from March?
THE PRESIDENT: On Kim Jong Un? I can’t tell you exactly. Yes, I do have a very good idea, but I can’t talk about it now. I just wish him well. I’ve had a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un.
If I weren’t President, you’d be in war. You would’ve been in war with Korea. You would have been in war with North Korea if I wasn’t President — that, I can tell you. He expected that — that, I can tell you.
I — I hope he’s fine. I do know how he’s doing, relatively speaking. We will see. You’ll probably be hearing in the not-too-distant future.
Later, the president deflected — or did not properly hear — a question about recent comments by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) suggesting that Kim was, in fact, dead.
Trump became the first American leader to meet with a North Korean leader when he held a summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018, and the first to set foot in North Korea in a meeting with Kim at the Demilitarized Zone in 2019.
The relationship between the two is considered crucial for the future of negotiations toward a possible end to the formal state of war between North and South Korea, and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. maintains sanctions on the North Korean regime.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.