President Donald Trump said late Saturday that “we will be meeting” with North Korea during a speech at the annual Gridiron Dinner in Washington, indicating that negotiations about a potential dialogue between the two countries continue to advance.
“I won’t rule out direct talks with Kim Jong Un, I just won’t. As far as the risk of dealing with a madman is concerned, that’s his problem not mine,” Trump told the more than 600 attendees during his 35-minute address at the Renaissance Washington Hotel on Saturday. “By the way a couple days ago they said we would like to talk, and I said, so would we, but you have to de-nuke, you have to de-nuke. So let’s see what happens … Maybe positive things are happening, I hope that’s true … We will be meeting and we’ll see if anything positive happens.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a query as to whether the president was joking or not. The president has repeatedly indicated he’s willing to negotiate with North Korea, though Vice President Mike Pence pulled out of a secret meeting with representatives of the regime at last month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea.
But for the rest of the speech, the president dove into his first appearance at a formal, insidery Washington event since his inauguration with gusto, making fun of himself – “I told them not to worry, nobody does self-deprecating better than I do” – and a long list of others, including his wife Melania, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, his former top adviser Steve Bannon, senior Democrats and even Louise Linton, wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
On chaos in the White House, the president said: “So many people have been leaving the White House it’s been exciting and invigorating … I like chaos.
“So, who’s going to be the next to leave? Steve Miller, or Melania? That’s terrible. But you love me right, honey? She said, behave! By the way she has been an incredible first lady.”