In an exclusive interview with Fox & Friends that aired on Tuesday, President Trump revealed he may not be sure who currently rules North Korea.
During the interview — which aired the morning after Trump live-tweeted the show — host Ainsley Earhardt raised the topic of North Korea. It’s a salient issue this week, after Vice President Mike Pence visited South Korea and threatened a military response to the regime of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un unless the country abandons its nuclear ambitions.
After referencing Pence’s trip, Earhardt asked Trump whether he has ruled out a military strike against North Korea.
Trump responded by saying he doesn’t “want to telegraph” what he’s “doing or thinking,” but went on to suggest the time for talk is over.
“They’ve been talking with this gentleman for a long time,” Trump said, apparently referencing former American presidents’ negotiations with North Korea. “You read Clinton’s book, he said, ‘Oh, we made such a great peace deal,’ and it was a joke.”
“You look at different things over the years with President Obama,” Trump added. “Everybody has been outplayed, they’ve all been outplayed by this gentleman, and we’ll see what happens.”
But the “gentleman” Trump referred to, Kim Jong-un, has only been in power since the 2011 death of his father, Kim Jong-il, so he certainly never negotiated with President Clinton. In fact, the October 1994 Clinton “peace deal” that Trump referred to in this interview was largely negotiated before the death of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jung-un’s grandfather, in July of that year.
Trump’s ahistorical comments about North Korea’s leadership were reminiscent of his now-infamous remarks about abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass during an event commemorating the start of Black History Month on February 1st.
“Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more, I notice.” Douglass died in 1895.
The president’s apparent confusion about who’s in charge of North Korea also comes just days after he erroneously described missile strikes he approved against the Assad regime in Syria as “heading to Iraq.”