During a White House pool spray with Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe on Thursday, President Trump said he doesn’t think he has a lot of preparation to do ahead of a summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in which the two leaders will discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
“I think I’m very well prepared. I don’t think I have to prepare very much. It’s about attitude,” Trump said. “It’s about willingness to get things done, but I think I’ve been preparing for the summit for a long time, as has the other side. I think they’ve been preparing for a long time also. So, this isn’t a question of preparation, it’s a question of whether or not people want it to happen, and we’ll know that very quickly.”
Trump’s comments come less than a week before the scheduled beginning of the summit, slated for June 12.
Later during the pool spray, Trump characterized the negotiations with North Korea as “a process” that “is not a one-meeting deal.”
“This will not be just a photo op,” Trump said. “At a minimum, we will start with perhaps a good relationship and that’s something that’s very important toward the ultimate making of a deal. I’d love to say it could happen in one deal, maybe it can.”
“They have to de-nuke,” the president added. “If they don’t de-nuclearize, that will not be acceptable. We cannot take sanctions off. The sanctions are extra powerful. and I could add a lot more, but I’ve chosen not to do that at this time.”
As the pool spray concluded and reporters left the room, Trump said that while he’d “love to” play golf during the summit, he won’t.
Trump is not preparing for the summit with North Korea at the same time his lawyers have been publicly making a case that he’s too busy to sit for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller.
Trump’s Twitter history suggests he has a lot of time on his hands, however. Ahead of Abe’s visit to the White House, Trump posted 12 tweets during the a.m. hours on Thursday — more than half of them either attacking Mueller’s investigation, James Comey, Democrats who no longer hold elected office, or Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).