Trump claim Melania had ‘gotten to know’ Kim Jong-un denied by White House

US president humiliated as own staff confirm First Lady has never met North Korean dictator

Felicia Sonmez
Tuesday 27 August 2019 11:58 BST
Donald Trump asks Boris Johnson: 'where's England?'

Donald Trump has been shut down by his own staff after he claimed his wife Melania had become acquainted with Kim Jong Un.

The US president said on Monday the First Lady had "gotten to know" the North Korean dictator, prompting the White House to step in and clarify the two have in fact never met.

Mr Trump made the comment in a news conference during his erratic showing at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France. While answering a question about Iran, he took a detour to discuss the country's real estate potential, then pivoted to North Korea.

"I also say that, by the way, with respect to North Korea, Kim Jong-un - who I've gotten to know extremely well; the First Lady had gotten to know Kim Jong-un, and I think she'd agree with me - he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential," Mr Trump said.

But White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement soon after noting that Ms Trump has never met Mr Kim.

"President Trump confides in his wife on many issues including the detailed elements of his strong relationship with Chairman Kim - and while the First Lady hasn't met him, the President feels like she's gotten to know him too," Ms Grisham said.

The President first met with Mr Kim in Singapore in June 2018. At the time, Mr Trump said that even though the First Lady wanted to accompany him, she was under doctors' orders not to fly because of a medical procedure the previous month.

"Can't fly for one month, the doctors say," the President said. "She had a big operation. That was close to a four-hour operation."

Earlier this year, Mr Trump and Mr Kim held their second summit in Hanoi. The First Lady was also not present for that meeting, which was abruptly cut short amid disagreements on the trade-offs between the US providing relief from sanctions and North Korea's steps to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

In June, Mr Trump and Mr Kim met for the third time, at the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea. While the President's daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, accompanied him on the visit and also briefly crossed into North Korea, the First Lady was not present.

The Washington Post

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