Dennis Rodman, a retired professional basketball player, is one of the few people who knows both US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and that makes him an important resource, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a CNN interview.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo noted about Rodman on Monday night, “He is our best resource at this point right now for understanding the minds of the two men, especially Kim Jong Un.”
Clapper responded: “I agree, Chris … as weird as it is … this whole thing is unconventional.”
Before an interview with Rodman on “Cuomo Prime Time,” Clapper said he had long thought Rodman was an important part of the process.
“I’ve long been an advocate of involving Dennis Rodman,” Clapper noted to Cuomo. “He is a unique person since he has a relationship with both Kim Jong Un and with Donald Trump. And obviously he has a great rapport with Kim Jong Un – who is a basketball fanatic himself. So, I think there’s a potential here to engage Dennis Rodman in a serious way in promoting this relationship”
During his interview, Rodman discussed his conversations with the North Korean regime leading up to the summit.
Clapper said afterward, “I saw a Dennis Rodman I’d never seen before in the course of that interview.”
“There’s a lot more depth there than I think meets the eye. And he does understand Kim Jong Un,” he added, noting that most other pundits “haven’t had that direct contact like he has.”
Trump is currently in Singapore for talks with his North Korean counterpart, which began with a handshake between the two men and then continued with a sit-down meeting.
Rodman also traveled to Singapore for the diplomatic talks, which his agent, Darren Prince, previously confirmed to CNN.
“He is willing to offer his support for his friends, President Trump and Marshal Kim Jong Un,” Prince said.
The talks are expected to continue later into a larger meeting with White House advisers, the White House said.
“I feel really great. We’ll have a great discussion,” Trump said at the beginning of the meeting.
“This will be tremendously successful,” he continued. “We will have a terrific relationship”
Rodman, a former contestant on Trump’s reality show on NBC, “Celebrity Apprentice,” has also previously visited North Korea.
CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.