Melania Trump, US First Lady, has not met North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, the White House clarified in a statement. The White House clarificiation came after US President Donald Trump had said that his wife had “gotten to know” the North Korean leader. Trump's comment almost immediately sparked speculations on whether Melania Trump had individual-level interactions with Jong Un. The White House also clarified that Melania Trump was absent in all three meetings between the US President and the North Korean leader.
Several hours later after the US President and Melania Trump flew back to Washington after attending the weekend G-7 Summit with world leaders in Biarritz, France, the US press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement on the matter. The statement was made with the purpose for clearing the air on Trump’s comments which gave some the impression that Melania Trump had met Jong Un personally. In the statement to the press, Grisham said that President Trump confides in his wife on many sensitive issues including detailed elements of his strong relations with North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un. Grisham also added that despite the fact that Melania and Kim have never personally met, the first lady still knows a lot about him given the information passed on to her by her husband.
"President Trump confides in his wife on many issues including the detailed elements of his strong relationship with Chairman Kim. And while the First Lady (Melania Trump) hasn’t met him, the President (Donald Trump) feels like she’s gotten to know him too,” Grisham, on behalf of the White House, said to clear the air.
The controversy is stemmed to the G-7 Summit when Trump was posed a question on Iran. In his reply, Trump segwayed into the White House's present relations with North Korea and Kim Jong Un specifically. Trump said that during his time in the White House he had gotten to know Kim Jong Un "extremely well". The US President went on to lclaim that his wife Melania Trump would agree that the North Korean leader led a country which, he believed, had great scope and potential.
“I also say that, by the way, with respect to North Korea, Kim Jong Un — who I’ve gotten to know extremely well; the first lady had gotten to know Kim Jong Un, and I think she’d agree with me — he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential,” Trump said in France.
Trump has frequently shown his appreciation for Kim Jong Un leadership, despite the controversies surrounding his dictatorial style. Trump and Jong-Un have met on multiple occasions, the first of which came in historic Singapore meet in June 2018. At the time, Trump had reportedly said that Melania Trump was to accompany him for the big meeting but could not given certain health reasons. The US President met the North Korean leader earlier this year, in talks which surrounded the discussion of nuclear issues, but fell through without any concrete deal between the two nations. The latest meeting between Trump and Jong Un came in June this year at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. While the US President's daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, accompanied him on the visit and also briefly crossed into North Korea, Melania Trump was not present.
(With inputs from AP)