Jun 14, 2018, 1:36 PM ET

Trump calls Kim a 'tough guy' when asked about North Korean dictator's human rights abuses


President Donald Trump was effusive in his praise of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during the summit in Singapore, but the kind words didn't stop there.

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In an interview with Fox News' Bret Baier that was conducted on the flight back from Singapore and aired Wednesday night in the U.S., Trump didn't seem concerned by the dictator's well-established history of abusing human rights.

When Baier noted that Kim is "a killer, he's clearly executing people," Trump responded by calling Kim "a tough guy."

"Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, with tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have. If you can do that at 27 years old, I mean that’s one in 10,000 that could do that. So he’s a very smart guy. He’s a great negotiator. But I think we understand each other," Trump said in the Fox News clip.

Baier followed up, saying "But he's still done some really bad things."

"Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things. I mean, I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done," Trump said.

The president went on to say that he's going "from today" in terms of dealing with Kim.

This is far from the first time that Trump has shared positive views of strongmen and dictatorial rulers: he gave Syria's Bashar al-Assad "an A" in terms of leadership in 2015; said the U.S. would be "so much better off" if Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi was still in charge in 2016; and last year, he defended Russian President Vladimir Putin by saying "there are a lot of killers" in the world, adding, "You think our country's so innocent?"

As for Kim's horrid history, the United Nation released a report in 2014, three years after he took control of North Korea. The report said "crimes against humanity have been committed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, pursuant to policies established at the highest level of the State."

"These crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation," the report stated.

Trump was also asked about Kim's human rights abuses in his news conference in Singapore following the summit.

ABC News chief White House correspondent Jon Karl asked if Trump believes Kim needs to change his approach to human rights.

"Jon, I believe it's a rough situation over there. There's no question about it and we did discuss it today pretty strongly. I mean knowing what the main purpose of what we were doing is -- de-nuking -- but discussed it in pretty good length. We'll be doing something on it. It’s rough, it's rough in a lot of places, by the way, not just there but it's rough and we will continue that and I think ultimately we will agree to something. But it was discussed at length. Outside of the nuclear situation, one of the primary topics," Trump said.

News - Trump calls Kim a 'tough guy' when asked about North Korean dictator's human rights abuses

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  • Theo Anonis

    If Kim is a "tough guy", what's Trump? Lemme guess, Kim's little pet.

    Bend over POTUS, Kim wants to show you his latest missile.

  • Realpshep

    Statements like that reinforces many people's belief that Trump is a crooked, bigoted dictator and given the chance he would pull a Hitler and "cleanse" America. He does what he wants, has no respect for the office, him and his daughter are profiting big time. It's no wonder he hit it off with Kim and he gets along with Duterte and Putin

  • dynamited88

    Dump is mistaken, Kim is a murder and commits crimes against all humanity. Just the kind of guy Dump idolizes.

  • K. E. King

    A "tough guy' ? Yeah, he executes people by stuffing them in what are essentially cannons and blowing them up. He starves, not just allows to starve because of catastrophic weather or natural disaster but actively denies food,to millions of his own people so they die of starvation and disease. These are not the acts of a tough guy, they are the crimes of a vicious dictator.

  • Sarah Levine

    What's even more crazy is that many Americans are fine with it and a recent poll of Republicans indicated they would be cool with Trump calling off the 2020 elections.

  • Millard Farquar

    Just when you think he can't go any lower....

  • Snug Harbour

    What is he now some sort of Sith Lord ?

  • Sarah Levine

    Trump so clearly delineates exactly what he is when he calls Kim "a tough guy" when in fact he is petty dictator and murderer. Love he understands the little thug but that's to be expected from a fellow sociopath.

  • Hans Thorsen

    How can Trump possibly do business with a paranoid regime that invaded Tibet, locks up artists and musicians, squelches dissent, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, and demanded that world powers no longer recognize Taiwan in its quest for independence? Oh - wait - that was that other president, the one so many of you "it only matters if Trump does it" folks liked. Trump's focus right now is on North Koreas' nuclear weapons, which N.K. threatened to use on the U.S. when OBAMA was president. Sometimes you have to rank concerns and go with the most important first. Many presidents, including Democrats, have "done business" with despotic or repressive regimes at one time or another, not because they approved of the repression, but out of necessity, in hopes that things would get better.

  • Armed and Psychotic Loner

    Trump has dictatorial ambitions, expecting pledges of loyalty from his underlings; Kim already has all that.

    Trump says that torture works, and wants "worse" and "stronger" torture, to use his exact words; Kim is already doing it.

    Trump claims to know more than the generals; Kim can blow up his generals with an anti-aircraft gun.

    Just a few examples where Trump has a great deal to learn from Kim.

  • Colinalcarz

    Life in NK is “tough,” Kim’s human rights record is “tough,” bringing up cyber security as a prerequisite for denuclearization talks is “tough.” Getting a timeline included in the agreement must have been “tough.” The only thing not tough is Trump.

  • Technophile

    Serial killers are smart people. -trump

  • YouMayBanMeButYouCan'tBanIdeas

    "Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things. I mean, I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done," Trump said.

    So then two wrongs do make a right, eh? Another example of where Trump's value system is not consistent with that of normal Americans.

  • NuuJuce

    One bully admiring another bully.

  • John

    Only a fully fledged psychotic narcissist could admire someone who is so powerful he can blow people to pieces with an anti-aircraft gun, just for falling asleep, and have no consequences.

  • Mike

    Un and his daddy killed millions of their own people and the trumpfilth admires him and Canada is the new enemy?

  • HamburgerHelperAgain

    Kim executing one of his generals for falling asleep during his speech is a bit much wouldn't you say?

  • Jim Enright

    Trump: “Boy that Hitler guy was really something else.”

  • Erin

    Kim is a psychopath. The best thing that could happen to North Korea would be if his military deposed him.

  • Don'tBotherMe

    "Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, with tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have. If you can do that at 27 years old, I mean that’s one in 10,000 that could do that. So he’s a very smart guy. He’s a great negotiator. But I think we understand each other," Trump said in the Fox News clip.

    Dictators do appreciate the ruthlessness of other dictators. I give it less than one month before Trump forgets his praises of Un to deflect away from some troubles of his own.

  • Tom Adams

    It seems strange that the leadership of every country that doesn't bow to the U.S. is somehow evil, but if a country is an ally of the U.S. then the leader of that country get treated nice no matter what happens in their country.

  • jon rhodes

    This president sings the praises of murders like Putin, Duterte, and Kim Jong Un, but our important allies are worthy of insults and name calling. This man is not mentally healthy. American exceptionalism put this person in the White House. Amazing.

  • Evan German

    Yeah, sure. Trump can't recognize 'tough guys' and is even blinder when it comes to ' good guys' or 'fine people' His grasp of the English language is tenuous at best and full of giant holes most of the time. He should be FORCED to vet any statements he wants to make thru a bona fide State Department spokesperson.

  • thinkmore

    More than one democracy has fallen by electing a would-be dictator who is enabled by a gutless legislature (see
    "Fascism" by M. Albright). Please, God, don't let it happen to the USA.

  • Summer Tyme


    ^ Like I said, tough guy - Don Con.

  • Stephen Bishop

    Trump fancies himself a tough guy. He's not.

  • aarfc

    I am no longer surprised that Turnip becomes more and more reprehensible.

  • Bill William

    Tough guy is euphemism murderous dictator just as Trump being insensitive is a euphemism for narcissistic, egomaniac.

  • TB

    "Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things..." I can't believe he said that with a straight face because...well...the White House has mirrors...right?

  • thinkmore

    Trump is morally beyond corrupt. Please congress: impeach this crook. What are you waiting for?

  • writergal

    Trump yearns to be seen as tough, and a leader. He longs to be revered as a god, as someone you don't mess around with. He would do everything Kim has done and worse if he thought he could get away with it. If the GOP retains control after the midterms, he will do it.

  • TexasVulcan

    Wow. Just wow. Each and every day I cannot believe how low the leadership of this country has sunk...

  • SittinOnTheBeach

    Trump sure loves his "tough guys". I guess he has "tough guy" envy. What happens I guess when you're nothing but a old, fat, white guy who can't tell the truth to save his soul (assuming he has one).

  • Discrimination is not a right.

    I just can't tell what's satire anymore. Every day is straight out of The Onion.

  • Bree Zee

    Not many people could say so little with so many words. Was Hitler tough? Was Hussein? Yeah...so glad we're negotiating with the likes of these two world class leaders.

  • Discrimination is not a right.

    How did we get from Crimea to the president of the USA calling that tyrant a "tough guy"?

  • Dave

    God, just get married already. I'm sure you and Melania will be much happier.

  • mik8888

    In other words, excuse me for a moment while I stick both feet in my mouth...again...

  • GorillaMyDreams


  • Robert Baker

    James Bond is a "tough guy;" Kim Jung Un is a cold-blooded murderer.

  • SearingTruth

    Good god fellow citizens.

    President Trump admires and respects dictators.

    That was clear even before he made these statements, and now we have it from his own mouth in absolute and explicit terms.

    "We shall know them by their idols."

  • Ron Hedman

    We have a President that is saluting Generals of Kim's vial and brutal dictatorship. Meeting privately for hours. We have no transparency of the government with Trump in charge. He keeps Everyone in the dark. That's outright Treason! Then, without any proof, he declares to the World that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat. The supposed declaration signed by these two very calculating, very dangerous leaders, is utter nonsense without merit or substance. All the while, he pats himself on the back because he claims to have saved the World from a Nuclear holocaust. Trump pulling out of the Iran deal, and getting comfy with Kim and Putin has put the whole World at a far greater risk of nuclear war mainly for our Allies because Trump is systematically driving a wedge between America and her Allies. Once our links to our Allies are made weak enough, rogue countries all over the World will start attacking and overthrowing them. This may sound extreme but it is a very real threat that can happen very rapidly with self serving rogue leaders on both sides. Trump also knows that his followers are in a cult like trance and will believe anything he says. And he knows that by repeating his lies enough times, he will pick up more Americans that are undecided in politics. Trump and his communist friends are the biggest threat to America, her Allies and to Freedom that has ever darkened the World. Today is Flag day. I hope you are proudly flying Old Glory today displaying your love and dedication for what she means to us all. And when you lower her this evening, lovingly gaze at her, pondering on what she stands for, in the heart of every American and every person in the World that dreams of this land of Freedom. Countless sacrifices have been made for this special place on Earth and for her people. We can not keep allowing this President to keep tearing at her fabric. To side with, and downplay the brutality of these communist Dictators. This is pure Treason.

  • d big

    I'm surprised Trump didn't try and buy the Brooklyn Bridge, he is far beyond gullible.

  • UnaMasYup

    High crimes and misdemeanors - includes allegations of misconduct peculiar to officials, such as perjury of
    oath, abuse of authority, bribery, intimidation, misuse of assets, failure to supervise, dereliction of duty, unbecoming conduct, and refusal to obey a lawful order.

    Praising a murderer and authorizing the kidnapping of children from their families sort of falls under 'unbecoming conduct' don't ya think?