Trump calls Kim Jong Un a “tough guy” after dictator is described as a “killer”

Last Updated Jun 13, 2018 8:44 PM EDT

President Trump downplayed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime’s history of human rights abuse and killing in an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier that aired Wednesday night, and suggested he sensed a “chemistry” between himself and the dictator. 

The interview was taped aboard Air Force One while Mr. Trump was heading back from Singapore, after he and Kim met and signed a joint statement outlining their objectives. Mr. Trump said he and Kim, a dictator accused of directing the murders of family members and starving his own people, had a “very good relationship.” 

“When I met him today, we have a very good relationship, I feel,” Mr. Trump said. “I feel it’s good. You know, we know when we have chemistry, you know it as well as anybody, and you understand what I mean.”

Mr. Trump had previously praised Kim as very “talented.” Baier pressed Mr. Trump on his praise for Kim, pointing to the North Korean leader’s murderous regime record. Mr. Trump said in a news conference in Singapore earlier this week that the issue of human rights did not come up in his meeting with Kim. 

“You know you call people sometimes killers, he is a killer. He’s clearly executing people,” Baier said. 

“He’s a tough guy,” Mr. Trump responded. 

“Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, with tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have,” the president continued. “If you can do that at 27 years old, I mean that’s one in 10,000 that could do that. So he’s a very smart guy, he’s a great negotiator. But I think we understand each other.”

Baier paused, before pressing, “But he’s still done some really bad things.”

Mr. Trump downplayed Kim’s actions, suggesting Kim isn’t alone in that.

“Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things,” Mr. Trump said. “I mean, I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done. Now look, with all of that being said, the answer is yes.”

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