The White House issued a clarification Monday stating that first lady Melania Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un did not, in fact, know each other personally as President Donald Trump erroneously claimed.
During a closing news conference at the annual G-7 summit, Trump used a question about the breakdown in relations with Iran to paint a parallel to the progress of nuclear talks between his administration and North Korea.
Calling Iran a “country with tremendous potential” prior to becoming an international provocateur and ramping up its nuclear program, Trump said he believes North Korea has similar potential if only it would disband its nuclear arsenal.
“I also say that, by the way, with respect to North Korea,” Trump told reporters. “Kim Jong Un, who I've gotten to know extremely well, the first lady has gotten to know Kim Jong Un
and I think she would agree with me, he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential.”
As Trump mentioned his wife, a camera cut to Melania in the audience, who cocked her head slightly and looked somewhat quizzically at the president
Several hours later, as the president and first lady flew back to Washington from the weekend’s summit with world leaders, press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement shedding light on Trump’s comments.
“President Trump confides in his wife on many issues including the detailed elements of his strong relationship with Chairman Kim,” she said. “And while the First Lady hasn’t met him, the President feels like she’s gotten to know him too.”