It didn’t take a long, long time for President Donald Trump to start bestowing gifts on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The President of the United States confirmed on Tuesday morning that he plans to give a copy of the Elton John hit song “Rocket Man” to the dictator of North Korea, who he met with during a summit in Singapore last month to discuss denuclearization.
“They didn’t give it, I have it for him, they didn’t give it, but it will be given at a certain time,” Trump said when asked about the CD during a gaggle outside the White House Tuesday morning before departing for the NATO summit.
“I actually do have a little gift for him, but you’ll find out what that gift is when I give it,” he added.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in North Korea last week and took along a copy of the British singer’s CD with the “Rocket Man” song that Trump had signed, but Pompeo did not meet with Kim this time around so he brought the gifts back to the President.
A source with knowledge of the discussions between Pompeo and North Korea said the feeling at the White House was the trip went “as badly as it could have gone.”
The source added, “The North Koreans were just messing around, not serious about moving forward.” The source said Pompeo had been promised a meeting with Kim Jong Un, so not getting one sent a big message.
The goal of Pompeo’s latest trip to Pyongyang was to negotiate the details of the nuclear agreement Trump signed along with Kim. North Korea criticized Pompeo’s “gangster-like” demands in negotiations and said the “attitude” of the US was “regrettable,” while Pompeo signaled “progress” in the talks between the two nations.
According to The Chosun IIbo, a South Korean newspaper, Trump and Kim discussed “Rocket Man” during a lunch between the two in Singapore last month. Kim mentioned that Trump had referred to him as “Rocket Man” last year when North Korea was engaging in nuclear tests and missile launches.
The source with knowledge of the talks told CNN that Trump asked whether Kim knew where he’d gotten the nickname, and Kim said no. Trump asked Kim if he had heard of the Elton John song. Kim replied no, and that he had never heard of John. Trump told Kim that John is really good and that he would send him the song. The source added that Trump asked Kim if he minded being called “Rocket Man,” and Kim said no.
Trump had started calling Kim “Little Rocket Man” or simply “Rocket Man” last year as an insult. However, Trump has recently been criticized for his praise of the North Korean dictator, calling him “honorable” and touting their chemistry.
Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify that the characterization of Trump’s comment to Kim about John and sending the song was not a direct quote.