HANOI, Vietnam - President Donald Trump on Sunday ridiculed North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as "short and fat," and he lashed out at critics of his relationship with Russia’s leader, saying they are "haters and fools" who don’t understand the merits of a good relationship with Moscow.
The morning tweetstorm came as Trump prepared for bilateral meetings with Vietnamese leaders, including a scheduled news conference where he could face more questions about the topics he addressed on Twitter.
Trump’s taunt of Kim came after the North Korean leader again called him a "dotard," a term describing an old person who is losing his mental faculties. Trump, 71, sarcastically responded that he hopes one day to be friends with Kim, who oversees a developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missile arsenal.
Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2017
Trump also returned to a favorite theme of bashing critics who have accused him of being soft on Russia in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russian officials and possible attempts at collusion. Trump has denied that his campaign coordinated in any way with Moscow during last year’s presidential campaign, and he said Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin again denied any involvement in trying to influence the U.S. elections when Trump spoke with him at a regional summit in Danang, Vietnam.
When will all the haters and fools out there realize that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. There always playing politics - bad for our country. I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, terrorism, and Russia can greatly help!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2017
On Twitter, Trump also slammed President Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton for failing to improve relations with Russia.
Does the Fake News Media remember when Crooked Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, was begging Russia to be our friend with the misspelled reset button? Obama tried also, but he had zero chemistry with Putin.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2017
The president’s remarks in a wide-ranging talk with reporters on Air Force One en route to Hanoi on Saturday and in his Sunday morning tweets have sharply punctured the careful messaging he and his aides had sought to deliver on a five-nation, 12-day trip through Asia. Trump will travel to Manila, Philippines on Sunday evening for two days of regional conferences and a bilateral meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.