An emotional Dennis Rodman praised President Trump on Monday and told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that former President Obama wouldn’t give him the time of day on his diplomacy efforts in N. Korea.
Sporting a MAGA hat and wearing a t-shirt promoting his sponsor, “PotCoin,” Rodman—former NBA star, Madonna paramour, and “Celebrity Apprentice contestant, remember—has somehow managed to insert himself squarely in the middle of this week’s historic meetings between President Trump and N. Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Rodman claims friendships with both world leaders, owing in part to his “Celebrity Apprentice” appearances and his rather frequent trips to N. Korea to meet with Kim dating back to 2013.
“I talked to Kim Jong-un and the administration over there five years ago and he asked me five years ago,” Rodman told Cuomo. “We sat down for lunch. And he sat down and asked me, ‘Hey, Dennis, I would like to ask you three things, if you go back to tell the president of the United States these three things, and I would be willing to talk to him.'”
“And this is a true story and I’ve got my people who heard the conversation,” Rodman said. “He said things like, ‘If they could move the ships back from South Korea, I would do what I have to do to listen. If you can do certain things, I will listen, my ears will be open,'” he added. “And I tried to do that to Obama. And Obama didn’t even give me the time of day. I asked him, I said, ‘I have something to say from North Korea and he just brushed me off. And that didn’t deter me. I still kept going back. Kept going back. I showed my loyalty and my trustworthy [sic] to this country. I said to everybody, the door will open.”
An emotionally distraught Rodman told Cuomo that he suffered incredible abuse after returning to the U.S. “It is amazing. It is amazing, when I said those damn things, when I went back home, I got so many death threats,” he said, wiping tears away. “I got so many death threats. I was protecting everything. And I believed North Korea and when I came home, I couldn’t even go home. I couldn’t even go home. I had to hide out for 30 days. I couldn’t even go home. But I kept my head up high, brother. I knew things were going to change. I knew it. I was the only one. I never had no one to hear me. I never had no one to see me. But I took those bullets, I took all of that. Everybody came at me and I am still standing. And today is a great day for everybody—Singapore, Tokyo, China—it’s a great day.”
Rodman has been widely criticized for legitimizing Kim’s brutal dictatorship by lending his star power to the supreme leader of N. Korea, who assumed the position in 2011. Trump has faced the same criticism, even as he works to normalize relations defuse the Hermit Kingdom’s nuclear ambitions.