President Donald Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity that his past rhetoric toward North Korea – exemplified by language like “fire and fury” – made him feel “foolish,” but he said it was necessary for progress.
“Well, I think without the rhetoric, we wouldn’t have been here. I really believe that,” Trump said. “You know, we did sanctions and all of the things that you would do, but I think without the rhetoric, you know, other administrations, I don’t want to get specific on that, but they had a policy of silence.”
“If [North Korea] said something very bad, very threatening, and horrible, just don’t answer,” Trump said, describing the approach of past administrations. “That’s not the answer. That’s not what you have to do.”
“So I think the rhetoric – I hated to do it, sometimes I felt foolish doing it, but we had no choice,” he added.
Earlier in Trump’s tenure, the White House and North Korea had been in a war of words. Trump notably called Kim “Little Rocket Man” because of North Korea’s missile launches, said North Korea would be met with “fire and fury” if it continued to threaten the U.S. and its allies, and responded to a threat from Kim about his “nuclear button” to say he had a “bigger and more powerful” button.
Trump and Kim completed their first meeting in Singapore on Tuesday with a joint document signed by the two leaders and comments indicating further talks will occur. Trump said in due time he may invite Kim to the White House and that he may travel to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang to meet again.