Former NBA star Dennis Rodman made a controversial trip to North Korea last week, where he spent unprecedented quality time with the oppressive North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
In a bizarre exchange on This Week, Rodman explained his impressions of the trip. Overall, he was very positive about the entire experience. Here are the eight strangest quotes from the interview:
– “I hate the fact that he’s doing that [human rights violations], but the fact is that, you know what, that’s a human being, though. He let his guard down one day to me, a friend.”
– “It’s a different story because guess what, the kid is only 28 years old, 28. He’s not his dad, not his grandpa. He’s 28 years old.”
– “What I saw in that country, I saw in that country and I saw people respect him and his family and that’s what I mean about that.”
– “He wants Obama to do one thing, call him [...] He said, if you can, Dennis, I don’t want to do war. I don’t want to do war. He said that to me.
– “He loves power. He loves control because others, you know, dad and stuff like that, but he’s just a great guy. He’s just a great guy.”
– “He loves basketball. And I said Obama loves basketball. Let’s start there, all right. Start there.”
– “It’s just like we do over here in America, right? It’s amazing that we have presidents over here do the same thing, right? It’s amazing that Bill Clinton could do one thing and have sex with his secretary and really get away with it and still be powerful.”
– Rodman ended with “don’t hate me.”
George Stephanopoulos noted that at this point Rodman has spent more time with the North Korean leader than any other American.
Rodman likely did not see the human rights violations occuring in North Korea, where 200,000 people are allegedly held in political prisons.
North Korea prisoners reportedly have no access to healthcare, have scarce food rations of about 20 grains of corn per day, and are forced to work mining, logging, farming or manufacturing seven days a week. These dangerous conditions have caused prisoners to develop deformities and lose limbs. Female prisoners are also subject to rape and sexual exploitation in exchange for food or less dangerous work.
Rodman’s trip included a basketball game and a party at Kim Jong Un’s palace.
Photo Credit: Jason Mojica/VICE Media