President Trump may be accompanied by one of Kim Jong Un’s best friends when he meets with the North Korean dictator next week in Singapore: former NBA star Dennis Rodman.
Sources told The New York Post that not only will Rodman be in Singapore at the time of the meeting, but he could take part in the negotiations. One source told the Post, “No matter what you might think about his presence. One thing’s for sure the ratings will be huge. A lot of times in situations that involve complex diplomacy countries like to identify ambassadors of goodwill and whether you agree with it or not Dennis Rodman fits the bill.”
Rodman has visited North Korea five times, and he believes that he was responsible for the North Korean dictator “understanding” Trump. In April, he told TMZ he gave Kim Jong Un a copy of Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” for the dictator’s birthday in 2017. He stated, “I think [Kim] didn’t realize who Donald Trump was at that time, I guess, until he started to read the book and started to get to understand him. Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are pretty much the same.”
Rodman added modestly, “I don’t want to take all the credit. I don’t want to sit there and say, ‘I did this, I did that.’ That’s not my intention. My intention was to go over and be a sports ambassador to North Korea so people understand how the people are in North Korea. I think that has resonated to this whole point now.”
According to Darren Prince, Rodman’s rep, Rodman has no plans to travel to Singapore but he would be willing to go if asked. He said, “He’s talked about it, but no final trip or plans have been made.” Prince pointed out that times had changed since Rodman first visited North Korea: “It seemed like everyone [in the U.S.] turned on him and now things seem to be happening, so he’s just happy it’s happening. He’s just hoping for a great historic outcome.”
In 2017, when Rodman visited North Korea, he was asked about the detention of four Americans in North Korea and if he would mention the subject to North Korean officials. He replied, "Well that's not my purpose right now. ... My purpose is to go over there and try to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea."
In 2013, amid reports that Kim Jong Un had executed his former lover and 12 other entertainers, Rodman visited North Korea. North Korea’s KCNA news agency reported that Kim Jong Un and Rodman had a “cordial talk,” and that Rodman thanked the dictator for spending time with him.