Donald Trump said he believed reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was gravely ill were fabricated by CNN after he launched an angry attack on one of the network’s journalists during a White House briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.
When asked if he had heard of the dictator’s condition, which he had previously said he “liked”, the president said, “I think the report was incorrect, let me just say it say so “.
Signaling CNN reporter Kaitlin Collins, he continued, “I think the report was made by a network that was incorrect. I hear they used old documents. But that’s what I mean. I heard that the report was an incorrect report. Well I hope it was an incorrect report. “
Download the new Independent Premium app
Share the whole story, not just the headlines
Collins, recognizing that Mr. Trump had pointed her towards her, asked him if he had contacted the North Koreans.
The President replied, “I don’t mean to say. I will not say that. We have a good relationship with North Korea – as good as you can get. I mean, we have a good relationship with North Korea. I have a good relationship with Kim Jong-un and I hope he is well.
“And someone would say ‘Oh, this is terrible’. No, it’s not terrible, I hope it is going well.
“And I think it was a false report, made by CNN. “
While Collins was trying to request a follow-up, Mr. Trump pulled her away and said, “No, that’s enough. The problem is that you are not writing the truth so, as far as I’m concerned, I want to go to the next person. “
When the reporter tried to ask him a question, the president replied, “No, not CNN please. I told you: CNN is fake news, don’t talk to me. “
Rumors about Mr. Kim’s health emerged after he failed to attend one of the most important public events on the North Korean calendar, the birthday of Kim Il-sung, his grandson -father and the founder of the secret communist dictatorship.
A South Korean news site, Daily NK, said the 36-year-old had undergone heart surgery. He originally cited several sources, but later issued a correction saying his story was based on information from one person in North Korea.
CNN said the US government is monitoring the situation.