Political News

Washington Post: Trump floated pushing up Kim meeting: 'Why can't we just do it?'

Posted June 15, 2018 6:58 a.m. EDT

— President Donald Trump had to be talked out of abruptly shifting the schedule of his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, a move that some aides feared could have upended the unprecedented event, The Washington Post reported Thursday night.

The Post, citing two people familiar with summit preparations, said the President, reportedly impatient after arriving in Singapore on Sunday, tried to get his aides to move his tete-a-tete with Kim up to Monday.

"We're here now," Trump said, according to the people. "Why can't we just do it?"

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders were able to convince the President not to modify the long-planned schedule by noting that he and his team could use the extra day to prepare, The Post reported. They also cautioned that changing the date from Tuesday to Monday could adversely affect television coverage, as it would be Sunday night in the United States.

The revelation about the attempted change is one of a flurry of details that has emerged in the days since the historic meeting. The Post, citing two people familiar with the President's remarks, also noted that Trump at one point admired how "tough" the North Korean guards were and how positive the North Korean state run-media was in its coverage of Kim. In interviews following the summit, the US President opined that the North Korean people and their leader have mutual "love" for one another and seemed to offer defense of Kim's dictatorial regime.

On Thursday, North Korean state media footage showed Trump returning the salute of a North Korean military general. The gesture, which is considered a show of respect, was defended by Sanders as "a common courtesy." A US official told CNN that Trump was briefed on protocol, which is to not salute military officers from other countries.

Trump has hailed the historic summit as a success, touting the burgeoning new relationship between himself and Kim. He also announced that he would end the US "war games" in South Korea. However, he did not receive verifiable guarantees from Kim that his regime would dismantle its nuclear program, the key goal of the summit.