Former Aides Deny Trump’s Claim That Obama Was ‘Begging’ For A Meeting With Kim Jong-Un
After his third meeting with Kim, Trump told reporters that “President Obama wanted to meet, and Chairman Kim would not meet him. The Obama administration was begging for a meeting. They were begging for meetings constantly. And Chairman Kim would not meet with him.”
Former Obama aides, as well as outside experts, say that Trump’s statement, given at a news conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, was entirely incorrect.
Speaking to CNN on Sunday, Ben Rhodes, Obama’s former deputy national security advisor, said, “There’s no mystery here: it’s just a lie with no supporting evidence and no basis in anything. It’s not even an exaggeration, it’s just not true.” According to Rhodes, Obama “never even considered” seeking a meeting with Kim.
“This probably comes as no surprise, but there’s zero truth to Trump’s claim. It’s utterly fabricated garbage,” said Van Jackson, author of On the Brink: Trump, Kim, and the Threat of Nuclear War, who served as senior country director for Korea at the Department of Defense under Obama. “Obama never even deliberated on whether to meet Kim because circumstances were never appropriate. It was never in the conversation. I don’t always agree with Ben Rhodes’s judgments, but this is a factual issue and he’s right about this.”
In a tweet on Sunday, Susan Rice, Obama’s former national security advisor, wrote, “At the risk of stating the obvious, this is horse-sh*t.”
At the risk of stating the obvious, this is horse-sh*t. https://t.co/9YpgVF7qEP
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) June 30, 2019
When reached for comment, Obama’s current communications director responded with a tweet by Rhodes stating that Trump was lying,
Trump is lying. I was there for all 8 years. Obama never sought a meeting with Kim Jong Un. Foreign policy isn’t reality television it’s reality.
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) June 30, 2019
When he was in office, Obama’s foreign policy on North Korea took the form of “strategic patience.” Obama chose to wait North Korea out instead of engaging in negotiations, thereby denying the North Koreans any potential opportunity to bargain or threaten its way into a stronger global position.