Former President Donald Trump allegedly offered North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un a ride home on Air Force One after a summit in Hanoi in 2019. According to a BBC documentary, Trump reportedly promised him, “I can get you home in a couple of hours if you want,” with Jong-un refusing the offer.
Trump stunned his aides with the offer
Details of an unusual request during a diplomatic summit have come to light in a three-part BBC documentary ‘Trump Takes On The World.’ At the conclusion of the two-day Hanoi Summit between US and North Korean officials in 2019, then-President Donald Trump ‘stunned’ his closest aides by offering Kim Jong-un a lift home in Air Force One.
According to Matthew Pottinger, a key member of Trump’s National Security Council,
“President Trump offered Kim a lift home on Air Force One. The president knew that Kim had arrived on a multi-day train ride through China into Hanoi and the president said: ‘I can get you home in two hours if you want.’ Kim declined.”
Trump also shocked his team when he agreed to put an end to joint military exercises between the U.S and South Korea. The two nations had been conducting joint military operations for over 60 years. John Bolton, Trump’s National Security Advisor, claimed he couldn’t believe what was happening. In an interview with the BBC, Bolton said,
“[Secretary of State] Pompeo, [Chief of Staff] Kelly and I were sitting there in the room with Trump and we weren’t consulted. It came simply from Trump’s own mind. It was an unforced error; it was a concession for which we got nothing in return.”
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Trump and Kim’s unlikely friendship
In 2017, Trump and Jong-un exchanged incendiary rhetoric, which exacerbated the already-strained relationship between the two nations. Trump had called for ‘fire and fury’ and vowed to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea. Jong-un responded by threatening to ‘tame the mentally deranged dotard with fire.’ However, just a year later, the two held productive discussions in Singapore, the first-ever meeting between sitting US and North Korean leaders.
The Hanoi Summit was the second time the two had met after a promising first summit in Singapore. The summit was ultimately unsuccessful after it was abruptly cut short with no agreement reached, although many praised the efforts to open a constructive dialogue between the two powers. Trump himself claimed North Korea had sought a complete end to all sanctions, while North Korean officials stated they were only after a partial lifting of UN sanctions.
Did Kim miss out on the ride of a lifetime?
Taking a ride onboard Air Force One is an opportunity few can boast about. The Boeing VC-25A, a modified variant of the Boeing 747-200, is fitted with everything from a press office to an eight-seat conference room. Had Jong-un taken Trump up on his offer, he would most likely have been invited into the President’s private quarters in the nose of the plane. Trump had his own airborne Oval Office next to living quarters which even boasted its own small gym.
What do you think of Trump’s offer to fly Kim Jong-un home? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments.