May 24, 2018, 5:29 PM ET

President Trump 'dictated every word' of letter to Kim Jong Un canceling summit


President Donald Trump “dictated every word” of a letter directly to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday announcing that he is canceling the much anticipated nuclear summit.

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Trump called it a "truly sad moment in history."

"Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place."

PHOTO: Letter from President Donald Trump to North Korean President Kim Jong Un cancelling their summit. The White House
Letter from President Donald Trump to North Korean President Kim Jong Un cancelling their summit.

According to a senior White House official, President Trump “dictated every word” of the letter to Kim Jong Un himself.

The president made the decision to cancel the summit following a briefing Wednesday night after North Korea issued a scathing statement calling Vice President Mike Pence a "political dummy", the official said. North Korea was deeply critical of comments Pence made suggesting that the so-called Libya model could be applied to North Korea if Kim doesn't make a deal with President Trump amid threats to pull out of the summit.

At the U.S.'s urging, under the leadership of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, Libya, nixed its early-stage nuclear program. Years, later he was ousted and killed with help from NATO-backed troops.

"Whether the U.S. will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," the North Korean statement read.

President Trump met again early Thursday morning with his team, including Chief of Staff Mike Kelly, Vice President Mike Pence and spoke with Secretary Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton before making a decision to dictate the letter.

And, in an apparent response to the North Korean threat, the president issued a threat of his own in his letter — warning about the United States' "massive" nuclear capabilities.

PHOTO: President Donald Trumps while meeting with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea in the Oval Office of the White House, May 22, 2018. In the background is National Security Adviser John Bolton.DOUG MILLS/The New York Times via Redux
President Donald Trump's while meeting with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea in the Oval Office of the White House, May 22, 2018. In the background is National Security Adviser John Bolton.

"You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used," Trump writes.

In the letter, the president leaves open the possibility of meeting at a future date, telling Kim to reach out to him directly by phone or letter if he decides he would like to meet.

"Someday, I look very much forward to meeting you," Trump writes. "If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write."

The summit cancellation and tense missives were the latest ratcheting up of tensions as the anticipated meeting date loomed.

The U.S. was concerned over North Korea’s objection to U.S.-South Korea military drills. And American officials didn't appreciate being stood up at last week’s planning meeting in Singapore.

“They waited and they waited, the North Koreans never showed up," the senior White House official told reporters. "The North Koreans didn't tell us anything, they simply stood us up.”

The official also cited North Korea’s refusal to allow international experts/officials to Thursday’s nuclear test site demolition – violating a promise Pyongyang allegedly made to both the U.S. and South Korea.

The North Koreans simply went dark, the official said.

“The United States has over the past week made numerous attempts to communicate with the North Koreans but they have not responded," the officials said. "In fact, the first communication we received in a week arrived last night in the form of a propaganda release.”

The official's comments echoed Trump's own sentiments shared earlier in the day that "there's been a very good working relationship" with Kim and lamenting about how it recently seemed to spiral downward.

In the president's letter to Kim, Trump referenced the "wonderful dialogue [that] was building up between you and me".

The president would not elaborate further, though earlier in the week he suggested Chinese President Xi Jinping may have privately urged Kim in a recent meeting to take a tougher stance in negotiations with the U.S.

"I will say I'm a little disappointed, because when Kim Jong-un had the meeting with President Xi, in China," Trump said Tuesday. "I think there was a little change in attitude from Kim Jong-un."

Trump called the summit's cancelation a "tremendous setback for North Korea and, indeed, a setback for the world".

He also said that he has spoken with Defense Secretary James Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to ensure the U.S. military "is ready if necessary".

Asked by ABC News if the breakdown of the summit raises the risk for war with North Korea, Trump would not answer definitively.

"We'll see what happens," Trump said. "I really think they want to do what's right."

News - President Trump 'dictated every word' of letter to Kim Jong Un canceling summit

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  • Jen Bordon

    Yes we know he wrote it - it looks like it was composed by a third grader.

  • marcos989

    I have little doubt P. Trump (1st time writing that...gawd I hate it!) chose to decline the summit is b'cuz Jung-Un disparaged V.P. Pence days's jr. high all over again....pity the American journalists are so weak not to call a spade a spade.

  • Dave12

    I do not know what to make of the on again off again summit. I think trump is just fumbling around while he steals from America.

  • inonepeice

    President Trump 'dictated every word' of letter to Kim Jong Un canceling summit
    Most people knew that when it looked like ow was written by a twelve year old.

  • Morgan O'Rourke

    And people believe this guy? What in the world is wrong with them?

  • Erik Knight

    Trump's latest mov(i)e is: "My button is bigger than your button." I hate watching reruns of a movie that I did not like the first time around.

  • Michael McCall

    You simply cannot trust trump. Sorry if I've offended anyone, it simply the truth. And Pompeo

  • mik8888

    Yup, I can believe it after seeing what was written...after all, Trump is the closest thing to a "dictat-or" you'll ever see in a democracy...

  • catmom

    We know, it sounds stupid, just like him. He sounds like he just broke up with his girl friend.

  • jake

    Regarding world diplomacy and politics, Trump truly is "The Apprentice."

  • Bronx

    I know he thinks we are all fools, but believing this man has the ability to put that letter together
    is like, well believing there was no Russian conspiracy in his campaign. Unbelievable.

  • Dee

    Off subject...but sorta not (DT was the focus)...did anyone see SNL last weekend? Too funny! Eric had a hard time parallel parking! HA!

  • mik8888

    Heh heh, so why did they make the point that Trump dictated the whole thing...???

    Were they making excuses for it sounding like a third grader..???

  • Dee

    Now NK says it's ready to talk to "U.S." at any time..they are so jackin' with Trump..ha!

  • Hater_Baiter

    Just because he dictated every word it doesn't mean that they didn't fix any spelling or grammar errors.

  • mollydtt

    Too many big words, sophisticated speech. Nope, Trump did NOT compose that letter.

    We are not that gullible. And Trump lies constantly.

  • MAGreenA

    Are we supposed to be impressed that Trump dictated "every letter" in a memorandum? Well golly-gee-willikers. He must have done that while he was watching FAUX and Friends.

  • Chuck

    When I first read the letter I thought who in the hell writes a letter like this. It is juvenile at best! Then when no one but Don the Con would take credit for it, they noted that Don the Con dictated it himself. This is utterly embarrassing. Now we start threatening and calling names. What is wrong here? Nonchalance is akin to agreement. This is the fabric of American intelligence being shredded by one of the most dishonest businessmen in this country, who is being investigated for what could be treason! And we just sit back and are complacent. Threatening with nuclear weapons. These people have watched too much TV. They think nuclear weapons are a game you walk away from unscathed!

  • Your Worst Nightmare

    So Pence is the "Political Dummy" and Trump is the "Dotard"? No wonder Trump cancelled the meeting. It obviously didn't take NK long to figure out who they were dealing with.

  • Moderate Party

    Trump says the USA is cancelling the meeting, but then goes on to say that if Kim "changes his mind", he can call Trump anytime.

    It's obvious the N. Koreans cancelled the meeting, and Trump is trying to save face because his idiotic whack job VP shot off his mouth.

  • John

    North Korea was making concessions, giving prisoners back etc, working towards the meeting.

    Then Pence, instead of being conciliatory and working towards the meeting, makes idiotic threats that North Korea will be treated like Libya (whose leader was chased out and slaughtered in a ditch) .

    America is being run by a bunch of amateurs who have no idea of what they are doing.

  • brickmette

    So Trump "dictated every word", eh?
    Here's how that works;
    1) Someone wrote and typed up the contents of the letter, including the letter's flaws.
    2) The typed letter was given to Trump.
    3) Trump read the letter to someone who re-typed it.
    Voila! .....he "dictated every word".

  • Smarter Then You

    Little Rocket Man - 1
    Dotard - 0

  • Geary

    Dear Kim, If you change your mind you can call me any time. Oh FYI, if you call late at night a guy named Sean may answer.

  • Abuck Stops Here

    I wonder if trump is concerned about the post office losing money delivering his letter to North Korea?

  • Geary

    After one mass shooting, Trump tweets condolences to the wrong town.
    This Kim letter will probably end up in North Dakota.

  • Jim S

    The Commemorative coins celebrating Trump's major accomplishment with North Korea are normally $99.00 each but if you act now, you can buy one for 50 cents or 3 for a dollar.

  • GorillaMyDreams

    I'm not surprised that Trump dictated the letter, considering it said:

    "I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting."

    Followed by:

    "If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write."

  • Your Worst Nightmare

    DJT: "warning about the United States' "massive" nuclear capabilities."

    A strong man never has to demonstrate his strength. It should be obvious. One more thing Trump's father failed to teach his spoiled, immature son. Only weaklings or liars have to brag.

  • BurmeseDude

    You don't want to see the other prematurely made commemorative coins showing...

    -- Trump physically rescuing neo-nationalist whites from BLM mobs
    -- Trump taking on the last polar bear on earth to save the oil fields
    -- Trump installing Rosanne as SC Judge
    -- Trump winning the IQ test against other stable geniuses to claim as world's best stable genius
    -- Trump striking out 27 batters with a ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game and winning the game somehow

    Okay, last one I made that up.

  • Truthful Opinion

    Trump never had a real plan for the summit only empty promises, so to save face he used NK comment about Pence to back out of it.

  • Truthful Opinion

    Canceling the summit was a good idea both Trump and Kim would of got nauseated looking at each others hair style.

  • Dave

    When the opposing party is being difficult is when one SHOULD talk with them, not when one should shy away. The purpose of talking in this setting is to defuse and deal with difficult situations in ways that avoid physical (i.e., military or similar) aggression. So, it's fair to say that Trump's excuse for running away from Kim is that Trump can only deal with people who kowtow to him.

    Trump is a bully and can only deal with people he can control. Bullies are generally cowards. Kim is not going to be bullied by Trump or his threats, so he can't be controlled. Trump is a coward. When faced with resistance, he runs away with his tail between his legs. It is actually that simple.

  • tet1953

    Trump sabotaged this. He was getting scared because it was going to happen and he was not close to being prepared for it. His lie that NK agreed to denuclearize was coming out. So, he has Bolton start talking about the "Libya Model". Everybody knows what happened to Gaddafi, including Kim. Then he has Pence threaten Kim with annihilation, basically. They got the expected rise out of Kim and then cancelled. According to plan.

  • John

    "An arrogant person, conceited, haughty, who needs to exhibit
    compliments and recognitions, tyrant tendencies, exhibitionist and phony
    personality that may become megalomaniac with lack of critical sense." - graphology's analysis of people who make their signature ridiculously large.

  • lou g

    Ha! The great negotiator (Trump) un-negotiates again. Let's see if Un refers to him in a new name.

  • verygoodperson

    Trump is unable to negotiate a deal. Trump is not normal. Person who is saying about himself "I am very stable genius" obviously couldn't be normal!
    Even Kim Jong Un with all his obvious mental disorders never said about himself "I am a genius" Trump is more abnormal than Kim Jong Un!

  • adamrussell

    The dept of justice has now confirmed that president trump will be tried as an adult.

  • Janie126

    Uh, Trump..NK cancelled it first. What a complete MORON.

  • Abuck Stops Here

    trump is out of the running for Nobel but Avenatti just made the finalists.

  • MichaelinSeattle

    No Bel for you, Dump.