- Trump's been insulting North Korea since long before his presidency
- In an interview with 'Meet the Press' in 1999, Trump called North Korea 'sort of wacko'
Washington (CNN)Back in May, President Donald Trump said he would be "honored" to meet with Kim Jong Un "under the right circumstances."
October 1999'Sort of wacko'
In an interview with the late Tim Russert on "Meet the Press," Trump said if he were president he would "negotiate like crazy" with North Korea. "The biggest problem this world has is nuclear proliferation," he said. "And we have a country out there — North Korea which is sort of wacko, not a bunch of dummies — and they are going out and they are developing nuclear weapons."
January 2000'Very bad people'
When campaigning for president in Minnesota, Trump reportedly said North Korea is "run by some very bad people."
Spring 2013Foreign policy criticism
In a series of tweets in spring 2013, Trump pushed for China to help the United States with North Korea.
North Korea is reliant on China. China could solve this problem easily if they wanted to but they have no respect for our leaders.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2013
In April of that same year, Trump criticized former President Barack Obama's approach to North Korean relations.
Where is the President? It is time for him to come on TV and show strength against the repeated threats from North Korea — and others.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2013
May 2014Trump says North Korea 'last place on Earth I want to go to'
Technically, Trump's first mention of North Korea on Twitter was in March 2013, when he referenced his NBC reality TV show "Celebrity Apprentice" and former basketball player Dennis Rodman (who appeared on the show). Rodman visited North Korea in 2013, where he met with Kim, who he called a "friend for life."
Our wild man Dennis Rodman, big in the news re North Korea, will be on and watching Celebrity Apprentice on Sunday night!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2013
Two days later, he tweeted again:
But one year later, Trump lashed out at Rodman on Twitter, this time insulting North Korea as well.
Crazy Dennis Rodman is saying I wanted to go to North Korea with him. Never discussed, no interest, last place on Earth I want to go to.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2014
In a follow-up tweet, he added:
Dennis Rodman was either drunk or on drugs (delusional) when he said I wanted to go to North Korea with him. Glad I fired him on Apprentice!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2014
September 2015'Maniac sitting there'
During the second GOP presidential debate in September of 2015, Trump called Kim a "maniac" without mentioning by name.
"Nobody ever mentions North Korea where you have this maniac sitting there and he actually has nuclear weapons and somebody better start thinking about North Korea and perhaps a couple of other places," he said. But certainly North Korea."
In an interview on "CBS This Morning" in February 2016, Trump again brought up China assisting the US in dealing with North Korea. He said he would get China to make Kim Jong Un "disappear in one form or another very quickly."
He elaborated on Kim: "I mean this guy's a bad dude — and don't underestimate him … Any young guy that can take over from his father with all those generals and everybody else that probably wants the position, this is not somebody to be underestimated."
But in May, Trump told Reuters he would speak to Kim. "I would have no problem speaking to him," he said.
Later that year, in October 2016, he tweeted:
July 2017Trump's reaction to North Korea launching a missile
North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2017
....and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2017
Two days later, on July 5, Trump tweeted about trade between China and North Korea.
Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2017
August 8, 2017'Fire and fury'
While at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump said: "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States."
"They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen," he said, with his arms crossed as he addressed reporters.
In response, North Korea announced its plan to fire missiles at Guam, which it said would "send a serious warning signal to the US."
Trump's harsh stance came just several months after he said he would meet Kim, "under the right circumstances." In April he called Kim a "smart cookie."
August 10, 2017More rhetoric
He doubled down on the "fire and fury" comment. "If anything, maybe that statement wasn't tough enough," he said.
August 16, 2017'Wise'
"Kim Jong Un of North Korea made a very wise and well reasoned decision," Trump tweeted. "The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!"
September 17, 2017'Rocket Man'
Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in agreed to intensify economic and diplomatic pressure against Kim, who Trump called 'Rocket Man' in a tweet. Trump said on Twitter Sunday in an apparent reference to Kim:
I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2017
September 19, 2017UN speech
In his speech to the UN General Assembly, Trump warned the US would "totally destroy North Korea" if forced to defend itself or its allies. He said while the US has "great strength and patience," its options could soon run out. Directly putting the country's leader on notice, Trump suggested Kim Jong Un could not survive an American attack.
"Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself," he said.
September 22, 2017Back and forth of insults
Kim accused Trump of "mentally deranged behavior."
"Action is the best option in treating the dotard who, hard of hearing, is uttering only what he wants to say," was the full translation given of Kim's quote provided by state news agency KCNA. According to Merriam Webster, dotard refers to "a state or period of senile decay marked by decline of mental poise."
Trump's response came early morning Friday in a tweet.
Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 22, 2017
November 28, 2017North Korea announces capability of striking the US mainland
North Korea's state media announced that the country claims to have successfully tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile, topped with a "super-large heavy warhead," which is capable of striking the US mainland. The news came after leader Kim Jong Un ordered the 3 a.m. launch of the Hwasong-15 missile, which reached the highest altitude ever recorded by a North Korean missile.
"I will only tell you that we will take care of it. … It is a situation that we will handle," Trump told reporters at the White House in response to North Korea's missile launch. "We will take care of it."
After North Korea missile launch, it's more important than ever to fund our gov't & military! Dems shouldn't hold troop funding hostage for amnesty & illegal immigration. I ran on stopping illegal immigration and won big. They can't now threaten a shutdown to get their demands.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2017
November 29, 2017'Sick puppy'
Just spoke to President XI JINPING of China concerning the provocative actions of North Korea. Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2017
Later, during a speech about tax reform, Trump called Kim Jong Un a "sick puppy."
November 30, 2017'Little Rocket Man'
The Chinese Envoy, who just returned from North Korea, seems to have had no impact on Little Rocket Man. Hard to believe his people, and the military, put up with living in such horrible conditions. Russia and China condemned the launch.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2017
CNN's Kevin Liptak, Jeremy Diamond, Faith Karimi and James Griffiths contributed to this report