Former President Donald Trump tried to downplay his insulting “Little Rocket Man” monicker for Kim Jong Un by asking if he was familiar with Elton John when he first met the North Korean dictator, ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reveals in a new book.
Seeking to break the ice at their first summit in Singapore, Trump told Kim the nickname wasn’t as much of a put-down as it sounded.
He claimed the jibe was really a compliment because it stemmed from the iconic singer’s 1972 hit.
“Trump said it was a great song, and he intended the reference as a compliment,” Pompeo wrote.
Kim didn’t buy the spin for a minute.
“‘Rocket man,’ OK. ‘Little,’ not OK,” Kim laughingly responded, according to Pompeo.
Pompeo, who is mulling a 2024 presidential run, revealed the anecdote in his forthcoming book, “Never Give an Inch.”
Trump himself has offered a variant on the story, recounting his effort to convince Kim that the name didn’t convey any disrespect.
“‘I called you Rocket Man — that was great — because I could see you, I could envisage you, sitting like you sit on a horse, on a saddle, sitting on a rocket flying over Japan,’” Trump told a Florida crowd, recounting a conversation with Kim.
Trump roasted Kim fiercely when he first took office, warning him to stop testing nuclear weapons and threatening U.S. military action if he did not back down.
Kim fired back in kind, calling Trump a senile warmonger.
The two men set aside the vitriol to forge a historic friendship, which they sealed with a love fest summit in 2018.
But despite the happy talk, two other summits fizzled and Trump failed to win any meaningful nuclear concessions from North Korea.