WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump's comments about the threat from the novel coronavirus attracted widespread attention after excerpts from journalist Bob Woodward's book “Rage” were released. The excerpts also provide new details about the president's thoughts on North Korea's Kim Jong Un, racial unrest and a mysterious new weapon that Trump claims other world powers don't know about.
Some of the other topics covered in the book, which was based on 18 interviews that Woodward conducted with Trump between December and July and with others (excerpts from the book were reported by The Washington Post, where Woodward is an editor, and CNN):
Woodward wrote that Trump said he was impressed with Kim when he first met the North Korean leader in Singapore in 2018 and that Kim was “far beyond smart.” Trump also said that Kim “tells me everything” and even gave the president a graphic account of how Kim had his own uncle killed.
As he engaged in nuclear arms talks with Kim, Trump dismissed intelligence officials' assessments that North Korea would never give up its nuclear weapons. Trump told Woodward that the CIA has “no idea” how to handle Pyongyang.
Trump also dismissed criticism about his three meetings with Kim, claiming the summits were no big deal. Critics said that by meeting Kim, Trump provided the North Korean leader with legitimacy on the world stage.
“It takes me two days. I met. I gave up nothing,” said the president, who likened North Korea's attachment to its nuclear arsenal to somebody who is in love with a house and “they just can't sell it.”
Kim welcomed Trump’s attention, calling the president “your excellency” in a letter. Kim wrote to Trump that he believed the “deep and special friendship between us will work as a magical force."