As President Donald Trump had lunch with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina shortly after he took office in 2017, he witnessed what was apparently archived footage of a North Korean missile launch from a TV tuned to Fox News and reportedly worried it was happening in real time.
“That’s old footage, old footage!,” Graham humorously recalled of his exchange with Trump.
The account, which was given by Graham in a Washington Post report published Friday, described Trump’s aggressive stance toward North Korea during the early days of his presidency. Trump unleashed on the regime with frequent verbal attack, both in person and on social media, calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Little Rocket Man” and warning he would “totally destroy” the country if provoked.
Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, echoed Trump’s position at the time.
“A word of warning to North Korean President Kim Jong Un — the worst possible thing you can do is meet with President Trump in person and try to play him,” Graham said in a statement in March. “If you do that, it will be the end of you — and your regime.”
Compared to the bevy of hostile remarks in 2017, US-North Korean relations has since warmed. As the US remains cautiously optimistic, South Korea has expressed interest in continuing the trend by urging the US to back off on its demand for a complete disclosure of North Korea’s nuclear assets.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to arrive in North Korea on Sunday to continue negotiations, which includes setting a “general date and location” for a second summit between Trump and Kim.