- The Washington Times - Monday, June 11, 2018

SINGAPORE — Former NBA player Dennis Rodman, a longtime proponent of people-to-people contact with North Korea, was overcome with emotion Tuesday about the historic summit between President Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un.

He began to cry when recalling the death threats — which he called “bullets” — he endured after visiting North Korea in 2013 and what he saw as a breakthrough for peace at the summit Tuesday.

“I took those bullets. I took all that. I took everything everybody came at, and I’m still standing,” Mr. Rodman, tears streaming down his cheeks, said during an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

The eccentric basketball legend continued: “Today is a great day for everybody, for Tokyo, China, everything. It is a great day.”

Mr. Rodman, who wore a red “Make America Great Again” cap for the interview, was visiting Singapore for the summit but was not involved in the diplomacy between the U.S. and North Korea.

“Donald Trump should really take a lot of credit for this, because he went out of the box and really made this happen,” Mr. Rodman said. “If Trump can pull this off, more power to him. We don’t need a miracle. We need the doors to be open so we can start fresh.”

Mr. Rodman is likely the only man who knows both Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim. He met Mr. Kim during visits to North Korea and was a contestant on Mr. Trump’s reality TV show “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Having known Mr. Kim for more than five years, Mr. Rodman said the reclusive North Korean leader understands English in “bits and pieces” and is a basketball fan.

“If you’re talking about basketball, yes, he understands that,” Mr. Rodman said. “Kim Jong-un is not a dumb man. He wants to come to America. He wants to enjoy his life.”

He said he offered to serve as a go-between with North Korea during the Obama administration, but President Obama “wouldn’t even give me the time of day.”

“He just brushed me off,” Mr. Rodman said, wiping tears off his face with tissues. “That didn’t deter me.”

He said an aide to Mr. Trump called him Monday and told him that the president is proud of him.

“That means a lot,” he said.

He said Mr. Trump should understand “the people in North Korea have a heart, they have a soul.”

Dave Boyer reported from Washington.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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