The White House on Saturday denied and corrected a quote attributed to President Donald Trump that suggested he had good contacts with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
“I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-Un,” Trump was quoted as telling The Wall Street Journal in an interview on Thursday, refusing to confirm whether the two had spoken.
“I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised.”
But Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted — in a Twitter meme — that Trump was misquoted.
“President Trump said, I’D probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. I’D — I’D — I’D. NOT I!” the message read, with “I’D” in red ink, under a red banner reading “FAKE NEWS.”
Mockingly mimicking the newspaper’s front page, it then reads “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL — FAKE NEWS IS AT IT AGAIN! — FALSELY QUOTING PRESIDENT TRUMP.”
Washington and Pyongyang are in a standoff over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, and Trump has repeatedly insulted the North Korean leader, describing him as mad and a “rocket man.”
Asked if he had spoken to Kim, Trump said “I don’t want to comment on it. I’m not saying I have or haven’t. I just don’t want to comment.”
Trump suggested his variable position on individuals was part of a broader strategy.
But it was not clear how his remarks fit with his self-described policy of “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang.
Next week, the United States and Canada are to host a meeting on the nuclear standoff with North Korea in Vancouver, bringing together friendly powers from around the world.