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Wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat and clunky black sunglasses, NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman got emotional Tuesday in interview on CNN as President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in Singapore.
“I’m so happy,” he said as the two leaders met for historic talks Tuesday. "I'm so happy just to be here, man, and see everyone in the world get emotional like I did. Donald Trump should take a lot of credit because he went out of the box and made this happen."
"Today is a great day," former NBA star Dennis Rodman says in an emotional interview in which he describes his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un https://t.co/atvQwe7jo0 pic.twitter.com/dEgQf3kBtE— CNN (@CNN) June 12, 2018
Rodman is one of the few people known to have met both Kim and Trump. He appeared on Trump’s reality competition show “The Celebrity Apprentice” in 2009 and befriended Kim after visiting North Korea in 2013.
"We have really put ourselves on the line to reach out to North Korea and they have been so gracious to me, my family and the United States,” Rodman said Tuesday. “If Trump can pull this off, more power to him.”
Rodman became particularly emotional while discussing the reactions he got to his first visit to North Korea. He told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that he attempted to open a dialogue between Kim and then-President Barack Obama, but that “Obama didn’t even give me the time of day.”
“I got so many death threats,” he said. “But I kept my head high, brother. I knew things were going to change. I was the only one.”
Rodman traveled to Singapore ahead of Tuesday’s summit, though Trump said last week that he had not been invited in an official capacity, according to The Hill.
Trump and Kim committed to working toward the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” after Tuesday’s meetings, which marked the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.
The president hailed the meeting as a success, although critics worried that his decision to meet with Kim provided the autocrat with legitimacy. Kim has been accused of ordering the assassination of his half brother, executing his uncle and presiding over a gulag estimated to hold 80,000 to 120,000 political prisoners, according to The Associated Press.
Critics also questioned the president’s decision to end the United States’ “war games,” or joint military exercises, with South Korea as negotiations with North Korea continue. It was not immediately clear whether South Korean officials were aware of Trump’s decision before Tuesday’s announcement.