President Trump believes he will be able to predict the outcome of his upcoming summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un within one minute of meeting the leader, he told reporters on after departing the G7 summit on Saturday. Cutting off a journalist’s question about how long he thought it would take him to gauge Kim’s willingness to give up his nuclear weapons, Trump assured her that his quick gut was all he would need.
“I think within the first minute, I’ll know,” Trump said, further explaining that it would be “just, my touch, my feel — that’s what I do.”
Trump then, unprompted, repeated the question, his answer, and why:
How long will it take to figure out whether or not they’re serious. I said, ‘Maybe in the first minute.’ You know the way they say you know if you’re going to like somebody in the first five seconds? You ever hear of that one? Well, I think that very quickly I’ll know whether or not something good is going to happen. I also think I’ll know whether or not it will happen fast. May not. But I think I’ll know pretty quickly, whether or not, in my opinion, something positive will happen. And if I think it won’t happen, I’m not gonna waste my time — I don’t want to waste his time.
In other remarks during his impromptu press conference, Trump once again sounded optimistic about the summit, though it’s not clear what he is basing that optimism on, and he wouldn’t predict the outcome. “I feel that Kim Jong-un wants to do something great for his people,” he explained. “And he has that opportunity, and he won’t have that opportunity again.”
The summit is a “one-time shot” for Kim, according to Trump, though he also said he was hopeful that the summit would lead to some kind of relationship between the pair, since “at a minimum, I do believe, at least we’ll have met each other,” and that he and the world leader he once derisively referred to as “little rocketman” will get along.
Earlier in the week, White House sources indicated that the president was just going to seek a broad declaration from Kim regarding his desire to denuclearize, along with some kind of timetable Trump can then hand off to aides. A Trump administration source also told Bloomberg if “the two men hit it off,” Trump might also invite the dictator to Mar-a-Lago later this year.
On Thursday, the president indicated that the chance to size up Kim was his main focus of the summit and, as such, he didn’t think it was important for him to prepare much for the meeting. That means that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s reported attempts to conduct as many as ten hours of pre-summit briefings a week for the homework-averse president may have been in vain. Trump’s apparent strategy — to essentially wing a historic peace summit over nuclear weapons with one of the world’s least trustworthy authoritarian regimes like it’s a real estate deal or reality television reveal — is unlikely to play out well.
In addition, Trump may be bringing his gut, but he’s not bringing along any nuclear science advisers. The New York Times reports that the president, who has never named a science adviser and has been leading a notably science-adverse administration, will not have anyone trained in nuclear physics with him at the summit, which could put the U.S. at tactical disadvantage.
Former basketball star and current marijuana cryptocurrency billboard Dennis Rodman is going to be in Singapore amid the summit, however. On Friday, Trump said Rodman wasn’t invited to the negotiations but that he liked Rodman, whom he fired from Celebrity Apprentice for misspelling his wife’s name. “Dennis Rodman was a great rebounder,” the president added.
Authoritarian Apprentice’s season premiere airs live from Singapore on Tuesday.