The White House on Monday tried to clarify President Donald Trump’s claim at the G-7 summit that first lady Melania Trump has “gotten to know” North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un.
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“I also say that, by the way, with respect to North Korea, Kim Jong Un, who I’ve gotten to know extremely well, the first lady has gotten to know Kim Jong Un, and I think she would agree with me, he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential,” Trump said at a news conference, gesturing toward his wife.
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President Donald J. Trump speaks during a press conference on the closing day of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019.
(MORE: Trump says ‘great unity’ at G-7 summit despite tensions over his trade war with China)
However, neither Melania Trump nor Kim have been in the same room together, which prompted White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham to release a statement saying that the president feels as if the first lady “has gotten to know him too” through his relationship with the North Korean leader.
First lady Melania Trump claps while President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron participate in a joint press conference at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, Aug. 26, 2019.
“President Trump confides in his wife on many issues including the detailed elements of his strong relationship with Chairman Kim – and while the First Lady hasn’t met him, the President feels like she’s gotten to know him too.”
“He wrote me beautiful letters, and they’re great letters. We fell in love,” Trump said last September.
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North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, right, walks with President Donald Trump during a break in talks at their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore.
(MORE: Kim Jong Un praises President Donald Trump and his ‘good personal letter’ ahead of second summit )
Trump has often touted the success of his relationship with Kim including bringing home the remains of U.S. service members killed in the Korean War. North Korea handed over 55 sets of remains in July 2018, but since then, the Pentagon office tasked with handling the issue has halted operations because North Korea has stopped engaging them.
(MORE: Trump praises ‘very beautiful’ letter from Kim Jong Un hours before North Korean launch)
Earlier this month, Trump praised a letter he received from Kim amid stalled talks over the regime’s nuclear weapons program and hours before North Korea tested another projectile.
Trump told reporters as he left the White House that the missive was three pages, hand-delivered, “very positive,” and “really beautiful.”