Dennis Rodman, the former Chicago Bulls star and occasional self-styled diplomat to North Korea, says that President Trump and Kim Jong-Un “are pretty much the same people.”
“They love control,” Rodman told Agence France-Presse in Beijing on Tuesday, calling their verbal jousting over nuclear war “entertainment.” “Ain’t nobody got no finger on the button.”
Rodman, who has appeared on Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice and previously met with the North Korean leader, wants to help strike a peace deal between the bilateral bloviators, saying he can “alleviate some pressures as far as communication” between Trump and Kim Jong-Un. He made a stop in China on Monday, hoping to travel to Pyongyang, but was prevented from doing so by a ban on Americans visiting that country.
“We thought we would give it a shot while we’re here,” said Rodman. He’s trying to get a “special pass” from Trump to visit North Korea early next year, he added.
“This whole thing with me, [Kim] and Donald Trump – it’s a whole different dynamic right now,” said Rodman. “I said to [Trump] I got three things to say to you, and after that, he told me to f*** off.”
Rodman has been to North Korea five times, most recently in January 2014. He has played drinking games, sung karaoke and ridden horses with Kim, whom he calls the “marshal” and says has called him a “friend for life.”
He describes Kim as a “21st-century guy” who is coping with the repercussions of policies set by “tyrants” like his father and grandfather, North Korea’s founding leader Kim Il-sung.
“[Kim Jong-Un] is in a position where he probably wants to do a lot of things that are really positive,” Rodman said. “I think that the structure of the system just don’t let him do it. I’ve seen that. You see him be happy, and then, all of a sudden you see him pull back. He wants to pull that trigger where he wants to let his people be more free.”
Until he gains entrance to the country, Rodman is focusing on setting up a basketball game in Beijing between North Korea and Guam, which Kim has threatened to hit with nuclear missiles.