By Michael Hernandez
Despite his longstanding record of fiery undiplomatic rhetoric directed at Kim Jong-un, President Donald Trump suggested in an interview published Thursday that he has superb relations with the North Korean leader.
"I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un," Trump told The Wall Street Journal. "I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised.”
The comments come as more than a bit of a surprise for most. Trump has an established track record of risky brinkmanship with the North Korean leader, whom he has mockingly called "little rocket man".
Most recently, Trump asked officials from Kim's "depleted and food starved regime [to] please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"
When asked by the Journal if he has spoken directly with Kim, Trump said: "I don’t want to comment on it. I’m not saying I have or haven’t. I just don’t want to comment.”
The U.S. has no formal diplomatic relations with North Korea and has been at loggerheads with the country over its illegal ballistic missile and nuclear programs, which Pyongyang has repeatedly used to threaten Washington.
Switching to ongoing talks over renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico, Trump suggested he may get Mexico to pay for his long-promised wall along the southern border through the process.
"They can pay for it indirectly through NAFTA," Trump said following Mexico's resolute rejection of the suggestion it would foot the bill.
"We make a good deal on NAFTA, and, say, I’m going to take a small percentage of that money and it’s going toward the wall. Guess what? Mexico’s paying.”
The Washington Post separately reported Trump made unsavory remarks about immigrants coming from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries during a closed-door meeting with lawmakers in the Oval Office.
“Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?” Trump said, according to the Post, which cited two people briefed on the meeting.
He further suggested the U.S. should prioritize immigration from places like Norway, according to the Post.