Trump being Trump: Greatest hits from his press conference

  • U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions about the summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un during a press conference at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island Tuesday in Singapore. AP

Associated Press
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Not surprisingly, President Donald Trump’s first official solo press conference in 16 months strayed from convention. He talked up North Korea’s beachfront property as ideal for condo developments and declared the estimated 100,000 political prisoners in North Korea’s gulag as the real winners of the U.S.-North Korea summit.

Here are some of Trump’s more noteworthy comments at the Capella Hotel in Singapore:

I’m right, for now

Trump previously criticized President Barack Obama for looking weak after declaring a “red line” in Syria only to not follow through with a U.S. military strike.

On Tuesday, Trump avoided his own “red line” gaffe by attaching a surprisingly honest caveat to his insistence that North Korea will keep its verbal promise to destroy an engine testing site.

“I may be wrong,” he said. “I mean, I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey, I was wrong.’ I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.”

Never said Kim was nice

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is suspected of ordering the public assassination of his half brother with a nerve agent, executing his uncle by firing squad and killing U.S. college student Otto Warmbier.

So why would Trump use the term “very talented” to describe Kim? Because he is, Trump said.

“Well, he is very talented. Anybody that takes over a situation like he did, at 26 years of age, and is able to run it, and run it tough,” is talented, Trump told reporters.

He added: “I don’t say he was nice.”

As for the estimated 80,000 to 120,000 people imprisoned in the North Korean gulag? Trump said the latest pomp and circumstance can only help them.

“I think, ultimately, they’re going to be one of the great winners as a group,” he said of the prisoners.

North Korea saved the Olympics

Some travel agents attributed lagging ticket sales for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Seoul to risks posed by North Korea.

To hear Trump tell it, Kim single-handedly salvaged the Winter Olympics in South Korea when it agreed to send a delegation.

“As soon as North Korea agreed to send a delegation, tickets “sold like wildfire,” Trump said.

“It was a great success,” he said. “He did a great thing.”

Beach condos

Trump gave control of his global real estate empire to his two adult sons after taking office, but never divested his businesses, opting instead to put his financial assets in a trust.

So the real estate mogul sounded as though he was looking for the next great opportunity when he lauded North Korea’s “great beaches.”

“You see that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean, right?” he asked. “I said, ‘Boy, look at the view. Wouldn’t that make a great condo behind?’ ”

Trump says he told Kim: “You know, instead of doing that (develop nuclear weapons), you could have the best hotels in the world right there.”

‘Time’ magazine cover

Trump is known to boast about his appearances on the cover of Time magazine, and fake ones have been hung up at his golf courses. In a recent cover, an artist’s rendering depicts Trump looking at a painting of him dressed as a king.

So when a Time reporter identifies himself, Trump responds: “Am I on the cover again this week? Boy ... (I have) so many covers.”

The reporter said that it is possible, but his question is whether Trump sees Kim as an “equal” considering the human rights abuse allegations.

Trump responds: “If I can save millions of lives by coming here, sitting down, and establishing a relationship with someone who’s a very powerful man, who’s got firm control of a country, and that country has very powerful nuclear weapons, it’s my honor to do it.”