Former NBA star Dennis Rodman openly wept on television in a live interview from Singapore as President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met for the first time.
The eccentric former reality television star is one of the few westerners to have spent time with Kim during multiple visits to Pyongyang. Rodman also goes back years with Trump and appeared on his “Celebrity Apprentice” show.
In an emotional interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Rodman, wearing sunglasses and a “Make America Great Again” hat, said he had received a call from the White House ahead of Trump’s historic meeting with Kim.
“Yes, Donald Trump reached out,” Rodman said, telling Cuomo he’d received a call from a person he described as Trump’s secretary. “She called me and said, ‘Dennis, Donald Trump is so proud of you. He thanks you a lot.’ And that means a lot,” said Rodman. He added that he suspected he “somewhat had something to do with this North Korean situation.”
Rodman grew emotional in the interview as he recalled former President Barack Obama failing to take him seriously when he returned from Pyongyang with a message from Kim after one of his trips.
Rodman said Obama “just brushed me off” and “didn’t even give me the time of day.” He expressed hope that Trump and Kim would be able to make progress. “We don’t need a miracle. We just need the doors to be opened so we can start fresh,” he said, telling Cuomo, “it’s a great day” and exclaiming: “I’m so happy!”
Asked to describe Kim, Rodman said the autocratic leader was “like a big kid” who wants to have a good time, but is “trying to protect his people” and his honor. “This guy wants to be around the world, he wants to come to America, he wants to enjoy his life, he wants his people to enjoy this life,” said Rodman, adding that Kim is “not a dumb man.”