All the times President Trump has insulted North Korea

Story highlights

  • Trump's been insulting North Korea since long before his presidency
  • In an interview with 'Meet the Press' in 1999, Trump called North Korea 'sort of wacko'

Washington (CNN)Back in May, President Donald Trump said he would be "honored" to meet with Kim Jong Un "under the right circumstances."

That seemingly positive sentiment toward the North Korean dictator was short-lived. Over the last few months, Trump has repeatedly used very blunt language when discussing the ongoing standoff with the nation and its leader.
Here's a timeline of all Trump's tough talk directed at North Korea, dating back to long before he was president.
    • October 1999
      'Sort of wacko'

      In an interview with the late Tim Russert on "Meet the Press," Trump said if he were president he would "negotiate like crazy" with North Korea. "The biggest problem this world has is nuclear proliferation," he said. "And we have a country out there — North Korea which is sort of wacko, not a bunch of dummies — and they are going out and they are developing nuclear weapons."

    • January 2000
      'Very bad people'

      When campaigning for president in Minnesota, Trump reportedly said North Korea is "run by some very bad people."

    • Spring 2013
      Foreign policy criticism

      In a series of tweets in spring 2013, Trump pushed for China to help the United States with North Korea.

      In April of that same year, Trump criticized former President Barack Obama's approach to North Korean relations.

    • May 2014
      Trump says North Korea 'last place on Earth I want to go to'

      Technically, Trump's first mention of North Korea on Twitter was in March 2013, when he referenced his NBC reality TV show "Celebrity Apprentice" and former basketball player Dennis Rodman (who appeared on the show). Rodman visited North Korea in 2013, where he met with Kim, who he called a "friend for life."

      Two days later, he tweeted again:

      But one year later, Trump lashed out at Rodman on Twitter, this time insulting North Korea as well.

      In a follow-up tweet, he added:

    • September 2015
      'Maniac sitting there'

      During the second GOP presidential debate in September of 2015, Trump called Kim a "maniac" without mentioning by name.

      "Nobody ever mentions North Korea where you have this maniac sitting there and he actually has nuclear weapons and somebody better start thinking about North Korea and perhaps a couple of other places," he said. But certainly North Korea."

    • 2016
      'Bad dude'

      In an interview on "CBS This Morning" in February 2016, Trump again brought up China assisting the US in dealing with North Korea. He said he would get China to make Kim Jong Un "disappear in one form or another very quickly."

      He elaborated on Kim: "I mean this guy's a bad dude — and don't underestimate him … Any young guy that can take over from his father with all those generals and everybody else that probably wants the position, this is not somebody to be underestimated."

      But in May, Trump told Reuters he would speak to Kim. "I would have no problem speaking to him," he said.

      Later that year, in October 2016, he tweeted:

    • July 2017
      Trump's reaction to North Korea launching a missile

      Two days later, on July 5, Trump tweeted about trade between China and North Korea.

    • August 8, 2017
      'Fire and fury'

      While at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump said: "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States."

      "They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen," he said, with his arms crossed as he addressed reporters.

      In response, North Korea announced its plan to fire missiles at Guam, which it said would "send a serious warning signal to the US."

      Trump's harsh stance came just several months after he said he would meet Kim, "under the right circumstances." In April he called Kim a "smart cookie."

    • August 10, 2017
      More rhetoric

      He doubled down on the "fire and fury" comment. "If anything, maybe that statement wasn't tough enough," he said.

    • August 16, 2017
      'Wise'

      "Kim Jong Un of North Korea made a very wise and well reasoned decision," Trump tweeted. "The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!"

    • September 17, 2017
      'Rocket Man'

      Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in agreed to intensify economic and diplomatic pressure against Kim, who Trump called 'Rocket Man' in a tweet. Trump said on Twitter Sunday in an apparent reference to Kim:

    • September 19, 2017
      UN speech

      In his speech to the UN General Assembly, Trump warned the US would "totally destroy North Korea" if forced to defend itself or its allies. He said while the US has "great strength and patience," its options could soon run out. Directly putting the country's leader on notice, Trump suggested Kim Jong Un could not survive an American attack.

      "Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself," he said.

    • September 22, 2017
      Back and forth of insults

      Kim accused Trump of "mentally deranged behavior."

      "Action is the best option in treating the dotard who, hard of hearing, is uttering only what he wants to say," was the full translation given of Kim's quote provided by state news agency KCNA. According to Merriam Webster, dotard refers to "a state or period of senile decay marked by decline of mental poise."

      Trump's response came early morning Friday in a tweet.

    • November 28, 2017
      North Korea announces capability of striking the US mainland

      North Korea's state media announced that the country claims to have successfully tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile, topped with a "super-large heavy warhead," which is capable of striking the US mainland. The news came after leader Kim Jong Un ordered the 3 a.m. launch of the Hwasong-15 missile, which reached the highest altitude ever recorded by a North Korean missile.

      "I will only tell you that we will take care of it. … It is a situation that we will handle," Trump told reporters at the White House in response to North Korea's missile launch. "We will take care of it."

    • November 29, 2017
      'Sick puppy'

      Later, during a speech about tax reform, Trump called Kim Jong Un a "sick puppy."

    • November 30, 2017
      'Little Rocket Man'