Two former high-level White House officials flatly denied President Donald Trump’s claims on Sunday that President Barack Obama repeatedly sought meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
In a joint news conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, President Trump claimed that his predecessor had tried to meet with Kim on multiple occasions, only to be rebuffed.
“President Obama wanted to meet, and Chairman Kim would not meet him,” the President said. “The Obama administration was begging for a meeting. They were begging for meetings constantly, and Chairman Kim would not meet with him.”
“Trump is lying,” tweeted Ben Rhodes, who served as Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications during the Obama administration. “I was there for all eight years. Obama never sought a meeting with Kim Jong Un. Foreign policy isn’t reality television it’s reality.”
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper adamantly denied Trump’s statements as well.
“I don’t know where he’s getting that,” said Clapper during a Sunday appearance on CNN. “In all the deliberations I participated in on North Korea during the Obama administration I can recall no instance whatever where President Obama ever indicated any interest whatsoever in meeting with Chairman Kim.”
On Sunday, Trump met with Kim at the Korean demilitarized zone, which separates North and South Korea. Stepping across the border, Trump became the first sitting American President to visit North Korea’s isolated state. The two leaders met for nearly an hour, and agreed to restart talks on North Korea’s nuclear program.
In a later tweet on Sunday, Rhodes further excoriated the current President, calling his foreign policy a “failure.”
“Photo ops don’t get rid of nuclear weapons, carefully negotiated agreements do,” the former official wrote.