WASHINGTON – President Trump said during a Camp David news conference Saturday that he “absolutely” would hold phone talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, appearing to contradict some of his top administration officials.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is among those who’ve said there must be preconditions for high-level talks with North Korea, which is racing to develop a nuclear weapons arsenal.
“Sure, I always believe in talking,” Trump said in response to a question about whether he’d speak with Kim. “Absolutely, I would do that,” he said, stressing he would also “be very firm.”
“He knows I’m not messing around,” Trump said. “If something can come out of those talks that would be a great thing for all of humanity.”
Kim and Trump have engaged in an unprecedented war of words for months. Trump has referred to Kim as “little rocket man,” “short and fat” and a “madman,” and threatened to wipe Kim and his country off the face of the earth if they attack the United States or its allies. Kim has responded in kind, calling Trump a “mentally deranged dotard (senile person),” saying he deserved the death penalty, and vowing to annihilate the U.S. if it attacks North Korea.
In a spontaneous news conference during a retreat in the Maryland mountains with GOP congressional leaders, Trump also said he will not compromise on building a wall along the Mexican border. He took additional shots at Michael Wolff, author of “Fire and Fury,” the explosive new book chronicling life inside the Trump White House, and defended his mental state.
“I went to the best colleges for college,” said Trump, responding to claims in the book that he is intellectually challenged. “I was a very excellent student, came out and made billions and billions of dollars,” he said.
Trump insisted he’s never met Wolff, the author, who says he spent three hours interviewing Trump during the 2016 campaign and in the White House. Wolff previously was a columnist for USA TODAY.
Trump also underscored that he will not allow a deal to prevent undocumented immigrants who came here as children from being deported unless Congress approves funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.
“The wall’s gonna happen, or we’re not gonna have DACA,” said Trump.
Finally, Trump also criticized the probe of his campaign’s ties to Russia by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, repeatedly saying there’s been no collusion.
“Everything I’ve done is 100% proper. That’s what I do is I do things proper. Collusion now is dead. Because everyone found out after a year of study there has been absolutely no collusion. … Now there has been collusion between Hillary Clinton, the DNC and the Russians,” Trump said.