- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 22, 2019

President Trump decided that President Barack Obama was “stupid” after their first meeting, in which Mr. Obama confided that he refused to talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un because he is dictator, according to a forthcoming book written with Mr. Trump’s cooperation.

Historian Doug Wead’s book “Inside Trump’s White House” includes Mr. Trump’s account of his first face-to-face conversation with Mr. Obama, which took place in the Oval Office after he won the election in November 2016.

“Barack Obama told me that my greatest problem, when I became president, was the possibility of war with North Korea,” Mr. Trump says in the book, excerpts of which were obtained by The Washington Times. “In fact, privately, he said, ‘You-will-have-a-war-with-North-Korea-on-your-watch.’”

Mr. Trump told the author, “I said to Obama, ‘Well, Mr. President, have you called him?’ And Obama said, ‘No, he’s a dictator.’ As if that in, itself, explained everything. No, he hadn’t called him because he’s a dictator?”

The author writes that “two years later, Donald Trump was still amazed by that conversation. And then he concluded, out loud, to all of us in the room. ‘Stupid.’”

The president gave a similar account of the conversation during his most recent Cabinet meeting on Monday.

Mr. Trump, after initially engaging in warlike rhetoric with Mr. Kim, met the North Korean for an historic denuclearization summit in June 2018. They held a second summit in February, although Pyongyang has not agreed to give up its weapons program and is still launching short-range missile tests in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Mr. Wead, who served as an adviser to two presidents as a senior White House staffer, was given exclusive access to Mr. Trump, his family and senior staff for the book, to be published Nov. 26 by Center Street.

The president’s negotiations with North Korea feature prominently in the book, and disclose the detail that Mr. Kim hates the word “hostage.”

“Please don’t use that word,” Mr. Kim said to Mr. Trump when they met alone, according to the author.

Mr. Trump got North Korea to release three U.S. hostages in early negotations, and to return comatose college student Otto Warmbier, who died shortly after he was released. He had suffered a severe brain injury during his imprisonment for a minor infraction while visiting North Korea.

Presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner discussed with the author the letters that Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump have written to each other.

“It’s a father thing,” Mr. Kushner said. “You can see from these letters that Kim wants to be friends with Trump, but his father told him never to give up the weapons. That’s his only security. Trump is like a new father figure. So, it is not an easy transition.”

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