In what is certainly one of the most odd stories we’ve heard in many months, Dennis Rodman is officially the first known American to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Dennis Rodman?!?!?! Yeah, we were wondering “why” too!
Rodman traveled last week to Pyongyang, North Korea, and spent several days with Kim Jong-un … you know, just a dictator who has threatened to destroy the United States.
“I love him,” Rodman said on ABC News’ “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday. “The guy is awesome. He was so honest.”
Perhaps the only thing more bizarre than the thought of Rodman and Kim Jon-un palling around in North Korea was this interview the basketball star gave Sunday morning upon his return.
Stephanopoulos asked Rodman if he was aware of Kim’s threats to destroy the U.S. and his regime's frightening record on human rights.
“One thing about that, you know what? I didn't look at all that right there,” Rodman attempted to explain. “I understand what he's doing. I don't condone that. I hate the fact that he's doing that but the fact is that, you know what, that's a human being, though. He let his guards, he did one day to me, made a friend. I didn't talk about that.I understand now. I understand that.”
So, what exactly did Rodman and Kim Jong-un talk about, you might wonder?
“He wants Obama to do one thing, call him,” Rodman said. “That's right. He told me that. He said, ‘If you can, Dennis, I don't want to do war. I don't want to do war.’ He said that to me.”
Rodman even suggested that Obama and Kim could bond over their love of basketball.
“Let’s start there,” Rodman said.
Rodman, the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, and a camera crew from the upcoming HBO series “VICE,” were all traveling across North Korea when Kim Jong-un welcomed them with an itinerary that reportedly included ice skating, an aquarium visit and a long dinner and drinks.
“He loves power. He loves control,” Rodman said about his new pal. “He's just a great guy. If you sit down and talk to him, you know, perception is perceiving how things work.”
Stephanopoulos pressed Rodman on how someone like the 28-year-old dictator could be so great if they put 200,000 people in prison camps.
“It's amazing that we have presidents over here do the same thing, right?” Rodman responded. “It's amazing that Bill Clinton could do one thing and have sex with his secretary and do one thing and really get away with it and still be powerful, not...”
“How can you compare that to prison camps?” Stephanopoulos interjected.
“We don't have prison camps, guess what, this is all politics, right?” Rodman responded. “And the one thing, he don't want to do that. He don't want to do that.”
“I'm not apologizing for him. I think the fact that, you know, he's a good guy to me. Guess what, he's my friend. Guess what, I don't condone what he does, but as far as a person to person, he's my friend. But as far as what he does, you deal with it.”
The U.S. State Department took no position on Rodman's trip, saying the following:
"This was an – absolutely a private trip by a private individual. We have done various forms of diplomacy to connect the people of different – of countries with whom we don’t have a good relationship. We haven’t been in touch with this party at all. If there are Americans who after traveling in North Korea want to get in touch with us or have something to share with us, we take the phone calls.”
"Saturday Night Live" had fun with Rodman and Kim's new friendship. Check out this video:
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