Donald Trump’s claim that the Obama administration tried and failed to get an audience with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has been given a rather direct assessment by Obama’s former national security adviser: “horse-sh*t,” says Susan Rice.
As HuffPost reports, over the weekend Donald Trump claimed in a tweet that the Obama administration was “begging” for a meeting with Kim and was rebuffed.
In a tweet, Rice didn’t mince any words.
“At the risk of stating the obvious, this is horse-sh*t.”
Rice wasn’t the only Obama administration official to call out Trump on his statement. Former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes claimed in a tweet that he worked with Obama for all eight years of his presidency. In those eight years, says Rhodes, Obama “never sought a meeting with Kim Jong Un.”
“Foreign policy isn’t reality television it’s reality,” Rhodes tweeted.
Other Obama administration officials are echoing Rice’s and Rhodes’ statements. For example, James Clapper, who served as director of national intelligence under Obama, told CNN that he could recall “no instance whatsoever” of Obama asking for a meeting with Kim. Clapper did, however, acknowledge that it was “historic” for Trump to be the first sitting U.S. president to set foot on North Korean soil, according to Slate. However, he also noted that he doesn’t believe much will come out of Trump’s meetings with Kim.
The reality of the Obama administration’s relationship with North Korea is slightly more complicated than claims that Obama “begged” for a meeting with Kim and claims of Obama administration officials that he did no such thing.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the Obama administration did engage with North Korea on a few occasions, however indirectly, with mixed results. For example, in 2009, shortly after his inauguration, Obama signaled that he was willing to revive the stalled “Six-Party Talks” — meetings between South and North Korea, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States which first began during the George W. Bush administration. Those talks produced promises of action by the North; promises that weren’t kept. In December 2009, Obama administration officials and North Korean officials met, but it was done by proxy; Obama himself and Kim himself did not meet.
Stymied by North Korean officials’ reluctance to meet, 2013-2016 was a period of what the Council on Foreign Relations calls “strategic patience” — a period during where there was little negotiation and North Korea amped up its nuclear program.