There was only one word to which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un objected when he and former President Donald Trump talked about Trump’s “Little Rocket Man” nickname for Kim, according to a new book.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo included the anecdote in his book, “Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love.”
Trump rolled out the nickname in 2017 while antagonism between the U.S. and North Korea was cresting.
Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
Trump brought the subject up with Kim during a 2018 summit in Singapore, according to an excerpt of Pompeo’s book quoted by the New York Post.
Trump began by asking Kim if he knew of Elton John, who recorded the song “Rocket Man.” Kim said he did not.
“Trump said it was a great song, and he intended the reference as a compliment,” Pompeo wrote.
Kim told Trump, “‘Rocket man,’ OK. ‘Little,’ not OK.”
“We all laughed,” Pompeo wrote.
Pompeo said Trump “used this language with actually great effect.”
“I’m not claiming with intention. But I could see Chairman Kim understood: These guys are different and maybe we can find some way to take down the risk. We were definitely breaking some glass on this one,” he said.
Pompeo shared another detail from the meeting, according to Business Insider.
“I watched from the meeting room and noticed immediately that my North Korean friend wore platform shoes that left him about a foot shorter than President Trump. At somewhere around five feet five, Chairman Kim could not afford to give an inch — literally,” he said.
The Post reported that in the book, Pompeo described Kim as “small, sweating, evil” but with “brains, savvy, and ruthlessness.”
In another excerpt used by the New York Post, Pompeo wrote of how Kim tried to gain the edge when the two met in March 2018 by referring to Pompeo’s former role as director of the CIA.
“Mr. Director. I didn’t think you’d show up. I know you’ve been trying to kill me,” the book quoted Kim as saying.
“My team and I had prepared for this moment, but ‘a joke about assassination’ was not on the list of ‘things he may say when he greets you,’” Pompeo wrote, saying he responded with “a little humor of my own.”
“Mr. Chairman, I’m still trying to kill you,” Pompeo said.
“He seemed confident that I was kidding.”
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