Dennis Rodman ripped Barack Obama, saying the president is so ineffective in freeing an American being held in North Korea that the former NBA star is going to take action himself.
Rodman, who took a controversial visit to North Korea earlier this year, said he plans to return to the country August 1 to attempt to make headway with new leader Kim Jong-Un.
Rodman has been working to convince Jong-un to release American Kenneth Rae, who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly plotting to overthrow the North Korean government.
“I’m gonna try and get the guy out,” Rodman told TMZ. “It’s gonna be difficult.”
Rodman’s plans may be more than just a pipe dream. He has built up a rapport with the North Korean leader, and was even urged by the Seattle Times to use the relationship to ask for Rae’s release.
But as he proclaims his own intentions in North Korea, Rodman also rips Obama for failing in the region.
“We got a black president [who] can’t even go talk to [Jong-un] … Obama can’t do s**t, I don’t know why he won’t go talk to him.”
Rodman has played a de-facto ambassador since his visit to North Korea. After Jong-Un riled the world with nuclear tests, Rodman relayed that the leader just wanted a call from Obama.
“He asked me to give Obama something to say and do one thing. He wants Obama to do one thing, call him,” said Rodman, who called Jong-Un an “awesome guy” even as the US State Department criticized the trip.
Rodman told ABC’s This Week, “He loves basketball. … I said Obama loves basketball. Let’s start there.”
Rodman is one of a small number of Americans to visit North Korea, and the highest-profile visitor since the death of Kim Jong-Il in 2011. Rodman made the trip as part of an HBO series produced by VICE television, traveling with the Harlem Globetrotters.
But even after Rodman rips Obama, the NBA star clarifies that he doesn’t want to get involved in politics, saying, “I’m not a diplomat.”