“I CAN’T TALK ABOUT IT NOW”
(Apr. 27, 2020) — Toward the end of Monday’s White House coronavirus press briefing, a reporter asked President Trump if he were aware of a statement allegedly issued Saturday by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un to Fox News in the midst of Kim’s failure to appear at two national commemorations this month and increasing speculation about his health.
Her question arose at 1:59:00 in the White House’s archived livestream. “He didn’t say anything last Saturday,” Trump responded. “Nobody knows where he is, so he obviously couldn’t have said it. This is breaking news. Kim Jong-un made a statement on Saturday? I don’t think so.”
When asked for more information by another reporter, Trump replied, “I can’t talk about it now.”
“I hope he’s fine; I do know how he’s doing, relatively speaking…You’ll probably be hearing in the not-too-distant future,” Trump elucidated.
On Friday, Reuters reported that a Chinese diplomatic team, including a number of doctors, traveled to North Korea to see Kim.
The following day, rumors erupted that Kim had died.
South Korean government officials have stated that their intelligence indicates no unusual activity within the hermit kingdom which has nuclear weapons and imprisons its citizens with no due process. In early 2016, North Korea arrested American college student Otto Warmbier for alleged “subversion” of the regime. Eighteen months later, the Trump administration was able to extract Warmbier from North Korea and return him home to Ohio, where he died in the hospital several days later.
Since meeting with Kim in June 2018, Trump has claimed to have a “good relationship” with him, although Kim’s initial indication that he would abandon his nuclear weapons was not realized.