On Tuesday morning local time, history was made as US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shook hands in Singapore.
The handshake marked the start of the summit between the leaders, and displayed a stark contrast from the insults that had previously been thrown out by both men in the months leading up to the sit-down meeting.
However, Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in an interview that aired Tuesday evening that the rhetoric was crucial to the process of getting to the table for talks.
“I think without the rhetoric we wouldn’t have been here,” Trump said. “I really believe that. You know, we did sanctions and all of the things that you would do. But I think without the rhetoric – other administrations, I don’t want to get specific on that, but they had a policy of silence. If they said something very bad, something very threatening and horrible, just don’t answer. That’s not the answer, that’s not what you have to do.”
In September 2017, Trump spoke to the United Nations, where he warned North Korea of US force.
“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself,” he said during the address.
Trump and Kim continued to send threats and insults back and forth, but on Tuesday, Trump said he thought the harsh rhetoric gained the respect of his North Korean counterpart.
Trump added in his interview with Hannity that he “hated to do it,” and sometimes “felt foolish doing it,” but said that “we had no choice.”
Trump also told Hannity he thought the relationship “is really good.”
“I talk about early on in the relationship and the feeling. Well, we had a very good feel right from the beginning and we were able to get something very important done,” he said.