Rest easy, America, because Dennis Rodman is here to remind us, “I love Donald Trump,” Kim Jong Un is “just like everybody else,” and he plans to “straighten things out for everyone to get along together.”
In case you weren’t already aware, Rodman has become fast friends in recent years with the North Korean dictator over Un’s love of the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls, visiting the country a handful of times since 2013. He most recently went in June, when PotCoin.com — a website promoting its online currency “for the $100 billion global legal marijuana industry” — sponsored the Hall of Famer’s trip.
“Every time I see him, he’s always calm, he’s always smiling, especially when he’s with family,” Rodman told “Good Morning Britain” of a man who allegedly executed his uncle by way of antiaircraft machine gunfire and may or may not have had his half-brother poisoned. “To me, in person, without all the things that have gone on on TV and potentially a war or something like that, if you see him just sit at a table, he’s just like everybody else. He’s always laughing, smiling, talking to his people — that’s it.”
"We sing karaoke, we do a lot of cool things together."
Dennis Rodman has spoken about his friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un: pic.twitter.com/mu592c5la7
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 6, 2017
Well, that’s a relief. Here I was worried about “a war or something like that,” since Un has threatened the United States with “final doom” on multiple occasions and North Korea tested its nuclear arsenal again last week. But there’s nothing to see here, apparently, because Rodman, being a completely sane person, has sat across the table from the North Korean supreme leader and laughed with a man who has allegedly imprisoned, tortured, starved and/or executed hundreds of thousands of people.
“I understand how he’s a dictator to his people and he tries to be a madman, but I’ve never seen anything like this in the world,” added Rodman, who apparently didn’t tag along when Un reportedly executed a turtle farmer who failed to breed freshwater lobsters for him. “I’ve been around the world so many times. If it’s good or bad, I’ve never seen anyone in my life have that much power.”
It’s funny Rodman says that, since he also boasts a relationship with President Donald Trump, who has threatened North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” The two-time NBA All-Star appeared on two seasons of Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” and endorsed him in July 2015:
@realDonaldTrump has been a great friend for many years. We don't need another politician, we need a businessman like Mr. Trump! Trump 2016
— Dennis Rodman (@dennisrodman) July 24, 2015
“I think if the president even tries to reach out for Kim, I think it will be a great possibility. Things can happen if Donald Trump, if they sit down, and have some type of mutual conversation,” said Rodman. “It don’t have to be like a friendship type of conversation, just a mutual conversation saying, ‘Hi, I would love to engage in some words and politics and over the history of your country and my country and just try to start some dialogue.’ I think that’ll open up maybe the door just a little bit. …
“You know as well as I do, Donald can be a little crazy sometimes. Donald Trump’s attitude is he loves to be cocky, he loves to be the boss, he loves to be the man. I love Donald Trump. I thank Donald Trump for giving me the opportunity to be on his show, an opportunity to be his friend and an opportunity to be an American, but I just think that one day, just one day, if someone can reach out, if Donald can say, ‘You know what? Maybe I will try to do something instead of everyone fighting against each other.’ I understand the history. I just wish one day somebody could say, ‘OK.'”
There you have it. This has all been a big misunderstanding. Rodman just wants Trump to treat Un the same way he might Vladimir Putin, another fan of political corruption and possible assassinations. Maybe they could all shoot some hoops or sing Katy Perry’s “Firework” together, like in that movie.
“It’s amazing how we became such good friends with Russia all of a sudden with Donald Trump. … We have such a great relationship with Russia all of a sudden in America, but for some reason with North Korea we have a big issue,” said Rodman, who presented Un a copy of Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” a few months ago. “For me to go over there and see him as much as I have, I basically hang out with him all the time. We laugh, we sing karaoke, we do a lot of cool things together, we ride horses, we hang out, we go skiing and we hardly ever talk politics. And that’s the good thing about that.”
Listen, I have no idea why we’ve become so close to Russia so quickly, but Rodman is right. It’s probably best not to bring up politics with the guy who allegedly starved millions of his own people to pay for his nuclear weapons. No, this isn’t political for Rodman, who said he also asked Barack Obama to meet with Un, “and Obama shut me down.” This is about trying to “straighten things out for everyone to get along together, that’s it.” And maybe hitting the slopes for a little fresh powder.
“It’s just funny that me saying something like that makes people say, ‘Oh my God, Dennis Rodman is protecting the marshal of North Korea.’ It’s not about that,” said Rodman. “My whole mission and my whole goal was to go over there and bring sports, to bring connection to North Korea. I’ve always said I’m not a politician at all. Not at all. I’ve always said that from day one. That is the president of the United States and the government. So, I just go over there to be an ambassador for sports.
“I’ve been there six or seven times, and if you see some of the videos from the last trip I went on, you saw handicapped people dancing for me, you saw a lot of people in the streets coming and shaking my hand, smiling and crying. My whole thing when I talk to them, I ask them one question: I said, ‘Do you guys hate us as Americans?’ The first thing that comes out of their mouths is, ‘No, we do not.'”
Let me be the first to thank Rodman for clarifying that he is not a politician, because I often confuse people who cross over into the professional wrestling world with politicians. The former Defensive Player of the Year asked some North Koreans, many of whom are quite possibly forced to sport the same haircut as the supreme leader for fear of his wrath, if they hate Americans, and they said, “No.”
I guess now we can forget about that time Un threatened to “annihilate” us and “strike a merciless blow at the heart of the U.S. with our powerful nuclear hammer, honed and hardened over time.”
We do know Un loves his sports. His father once claimed to shoot a 38-under-par 34 the first time he every played golf, he was winning yacht races at age 9, and his love for soccer and country goes so deep that he publicly shamed the North Korean men’s national team in a “six-hour barrage of criticism” and banished the manager to a life of hard labor. So, count me among those who are completely comfortable leaving this matter in the hands of rational folk like Un, Trump and Rodman.
“A lot of people see all the negativity about him, because a lot of people don’t ever see in America that when you see him on TV, you never see him talk,” Rodman added of Un, who has regularly made public speeches about military might and a “final victory.” “You just hear what you think he’s saying.”
Maybe Rodman misremembered the time, days after his trip overseas in June, Un released an American student who had spent 17 months and more than a year in a coma in North Korean prison for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda poster. That student, Otto Warmbier, died a week later. Oh, wait, Rodman’s agent took credit for Warmbier’s release, and then the ex-Detroit Pistons forward said, “Some good things came out of that trip,” and, “people don’t see … the good side about that country.”
Warmbier’s father, of course, said in a statement, “Dennis Rodman had nothing to do with Otto returning to the United States.” OK, so maybe we shouldn’t believe everything we hear from a guy who was recently charged for a hit-and-run after he allegedly drove the wrong way on an interstate.
Rodman perfectly summed up his discussion with “Good Morning Britain” by concluding the interview with this suggestion: “How about me going to Guam?” In early August, two months after Rodman’s most recent visit, North Korea threatened Guam with an “enveloping fire” of test missiles, only to walk those remarks back after five days, when Un said he preferred to “watch stupid American behavior for a bit longer.” Two weeks later, North Korea was threatening the U.S. territory with missiles again.
It’s not the worst idea Dennis Rodman has ever had.
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