President Trump was left with a glowing impression of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after their summit together in Singapore on Tuesday. "Really, he's got a great personality," Trump told Voice of America's Greta Van Susteren of the man who has executed more than 340 people since taking power in 2011. "He's a funny guy, he's very smart, he's a great negotiator. He loves his people, not that I'm surprised by that, but he loves his people."
Trump stressed that "I understand the past and, you know, nobody has to tell me he's a rough guy. He has to be a rough guy or he has to be a rough person. But we got along very well. He's smart, loves his people, he loves his country."
The comments are a rather shocking evaluation of Kim, who rules what Human Rights Watch calls "one of the most repressive authoritarian states in the world." The group notes that in 2017, Kim "continued to generate fearful obedience by using public executions, arbitrary detention, and forced labor; tightening travel restrictions to prevent North Koreans from escaping and seeking refuge overseas; and systematically persecuting those with religious contacts inside and outside the country."
Van Susteren pushed back on Trump's remarks, asking: "But he's starved them, he's been brutal to them. He still loves his people?"
"Look, he's doing what he's seen done, if you look at it," Trump replied. "But, I really have to go by today and by yesterday and by a couple of weeks ago because that's really when this whole thing started." Asked to address the North Korean people directly, Trump added: "I think you have somebody that has a great feeling for them … I think great things are going to happen for North Korea."