On Monday night, as President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un met behind closed doors for their historic nuclear summit in Singapore, CNN turned to its top North Korea analyst: Dennis Rodman.
The former NBA star is a longtime friend of the North Korean leader and until recently was one of the few people alive to have met both Kim and Trump in person.
Sporting a T-shirt promoting a marijuana-related cryptocurrency company, a red “Make America Great Again” hat, and lip and nose rings, Rodman spoke to CNN live from Singapore. Though he wasn’t actually invited to attend the summit, he flew there anyway — on a trip sponsored by PotCoin, the cryptocurrency business.
At one point during the interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Rodman broke into tears remembering his first trip to North Korea and how he received “death threats” when he came back to the US.
Speaking with CNN’s @chriscuomo while wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, former NBA star @dennisrodman describes his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his hopes for the country https://t.co/oaMBT2GQ3n pic.twitter.com/YjNf7ZI9Ky— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) June 12, 2018
As bizarre as his presence at the summit is, you can’t criticize him for not caring enough.
”We have really put ourselves on the line to reach out to North Korea and they have been so gracious to me, my family and the United States. So let’s make this happen. If Trump can pull this off, more power to him,” Rodman said on CNN.
Toward the end of the CNN interview, Rodman thanked a barrage of people who he said supported his efforts to bring together the US and North Korea, including Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of the rock band Pearl Jam. “I’m thanking Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and everybody who supported me through all these things. I’m going to thank my kids. They’re still with me after all these years,” Rodman said. He added that he was thankful for the “guys at PotCoin that supported me through this whole venture.”
In the midst of denuclearization talks, criticisms of North Korea’s treatment of its civilians, and a possible war between the two countries, Rodman has emerged a central talking point of the Trump-Kim summit. Just one hour after the summit began, “Dennis Rodman” was the top trending topic on Twitter; #TrumpKimSummit followed in a close second.
Rodman’s presence in Singapore isn’t actually that surprising
Rodman arrived in Singapore on Monday, telling reporters at Changi international airport that he came to the city-state “to see what’s going on,” according to AP News. He was photographed wearing a PotCoin shirt that appears to have been designed specifically for the summit. Surrounding the PotCoin logo was the slogan “Peace starts in Singapore.”
Rodman is still one of the few Americans who have actually met Kim Jong Un (Kim is reportedly a huge basketball fan). And until recently, he was the only person alive who had met both Trump and Kim in person. He officially endorsed the Trump-Kim summit on May 30, tweeting a seemingly photoshopped photo of Kim wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.
Although Trump said Rodman wasn’t officially invited and won’t be involved in any official capacity, Rodman’s stint in Singapore has proven that he’s certainly left his mark on the historic summit.