(CNN) — President Donald Trump said Friday he wants Americans to sit up at attention as North Koreans do for dictator Kim Jong Un, later adding that he was joking.
“He’s the head of the country,” Trump said of Kim Friday during a live interview on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.” “And I mean he’s the strong head. Don’t let anyone think anything different.”
“He speaks and his people sit up at attention,” the President added. “I want my people to do the same.”
Later Friday, Trump told reporters at the White House his remark was a joke.
“I was kidding,” he said. “You don’t understand sarcasm.”
Since returning from his summit with Kim, Trump has referred to Kim as “funny,” “smart,” “very talented,” and someone who “loves his people.”
North Korea has perpetuated human rights abuses for decades, according to watchdog agencies, human rights groups and the US government.
According to Trump, the two leaders privately discussed human rights and Kim reacted “very well.”
Later Friday, Trump told reporters at the White House that he hasn’t criticized Kim’s human rights records because he doesn’t want to “see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family.”
“I want to have a good relationship with North Korea,” Trump said.
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