President Donald Trump downplayed atrocities committed by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un Wednesday, praising the Supreme Leader as “tough.”
In an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, Baier noted that Trump often refers to people as “killers” and noted that Kim is an actual killer, saying that Kim is “clearly executing people.”
In response, Trump said Kim is “a tough guy.”
“Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don’t care who you are, how much of an advantage you have, if you could do that at 27-years old, I mean, that’s 1 in 10,000 that could do that,” Trump said.
The president went on to say that Kim is a “very smart guy” and a “great negotiator.”
“We understand each other,” Trump said of the dictator.
Baier, after a long pause, pressed Trump further, saying that Kim has “still done some really bad things.”
“Yeah, but so have other people done some really bad things,” Trump said in response. “I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.”
Just last year, a report published by the International Bar Association, “Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korean Political Prisons,” documented atrocities committed inside North Korea’s prisons, where between 80,000 to 130,000 people are being held.
One of the report’s authors, Thomas Buergenthal, a law professor who served for a decade as an International Court of Justice judge, also survived the Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen concentration camps a child.
“I believe that the conditions in the [North] Korean prison camps are as terrible, or even worse, than those I saw and experienced in my youth in these Nazi camps and in my long professional career in the human rights field,” Buergenthal told The Washington Post.
An untold number of people have died in the camps. According to reports, infanticide is common in the prisons, and many others being held die of torture, exhaustion, work accidents, starvation, and illnesses.
As The New York Times noted Monday, a 2014 United Nations report looking at North Korea concluded that its crimes “entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”
Kim himself has also consolidated and risen to power through the execution of his political enemies, including his own family members. According to the Times, he has ordered the execution of at least 340 people in his first six years in power, including his uncle and brother.