Sorry might be the hardest word for President Donald Trump, but gift-giving appears to be a little easier.
Trump has repeatedly called Kim Jong Un “Little Rocket Man” since first threatening nuclear war with the North Korean dictator last year. But now that the two are on good terms following their historic summit last month in Singapore, the president is reportedly gifting Kim a CD of Elton John’s 1972 classic “Rocket Man” — which Trump himself signed, of course.
South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper, quoting unidentified diplomatic sources in Washington, reported Friday that Trump, 72, sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — who is heading to Pyongyang this weekend — the signed “Rocket Man” CD and a personalized letter.
The gift is reportedly meant to remind Kim of commitments he made to Trump when the two came face-to-face last month for the summit, the paper reports.
During that meeting, which happened to be the first time a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader have met, Trump’s “Little Rocket Man” nickname for Kim came up. “Trump asked Kim if he knew the song and Kim said no,” the insider told Chosun Ilbo.
Pompeo neither confirmed nor denied the report when asked about it by reporters on Friday, NBC News reported.
The outlet also points out that it has not been confirmed whether Pompeo, 54, will actually meet Kim during the trip.
He told reporters his trip is designed to “fill in some details” on the denuclearization agreement Kim and Trump signed. This will be Pompeo’s third visit to North Korea and fourth meeting with officials there in three months.
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Trump has had a rocky relationship with Kim, at turns praising and criticizing the North Korean dictator. The president has called Kim a “maniac,” a “bad dude,” a “madman” and a “sick puppy.”
Tensions between the two leaders escalated in August 2017, when Trump warned Kim against making further threats against the U.S. and vowed that if he did not, North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Not long after that, at a September speech before the United Nations General Assembly, Trump taunted Kim as a “rocket man” on a “suicide mission,” and threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if Kim didn’t back down from pursuing his nuclear ambitions.
When Kim retaliated by calling Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard,” the president suggested Kim was “short and fat,” but nevertheless expressed a continued desire to “be his friend.”
But more recently, as the two leaders planned their historic sit-down, Trump praised Kim as a “very honorable” and “very open” negotiator. “We’re having very, very good discussions,” Trump said in April.
As the two met in June, both were all smiles.
“I feel really great,” Trump said before the two retreated behind closed doors for a 45-minute, one-on-one meeting. “It’s gonna be a great discussion and I think tremendous success. I think it’s gonna be really successful and I think we will have a terrific relationship, I have no doubt.”
The North Korean leader — who is believed to be 33 — responded in kind, with a translator interpreting, “The old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward, but we’ve overcome all of them, and we are here today.”
Trump’s obsession with the song “Rocket Man” predates his presidency. Trump used the song repeatedly during his 2016 campaign at numerous rallies. But Elton John insists he never gave permission for use of the song.
“I don’t really want my music to be involved in anything to do with an American election campaign. I’m British,” John told The Guardian at the time. “I’ve met Donald Trump, he was very nice to me, it’s nothing personal, his political views are his own, mine are very different, I’m not a Republican in a million years.”