White House Now Contradicts Trump, Says He Never Spoke to North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un
President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday that he has spoken directly with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un — only to be shortly contradicted by his own White House press secretary.
As Trump was walking with First Lady Melania Trump, as well as Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe, reporters called out questions. When one reporter asked if Trump has had direct talks with Kim, the president turned around and said, "Yes."
But Trump might have gotten confused or thought he was responding to another question. When asked again by reporters whether he actually has spoken to Kim, Trump said that there had been talks at the "highest levels" but did not indicate that he had spoken with the North Korean leader.
CNN's Kaitlan Collins reported that press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders clarified in a statement: "The President said the administration has had talks at the highest levels and added that they were not with him directly.”
Had Trump spoken directly with Kim, it would have been a major shift in diplomatic relations between the two countries. American presidents have long kept their distance for North Korean leaders for fear of granting the rogue regime undue respect. Trump's decision to meet with Kim in person — a meeting that is still being negotiated — already constituted a major break with the history of American foreign policy.