Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in his new book that former President Donald Trump had to explain his "Little Rocket Man" reference to North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un when they met in Singapore in 2018, Business Insider reported Monday.
According to an excerpt from Pompeo's book, "Never Give An Inch: Fighting for the America I Love," released Tuesday, Trump told Kim during lunch at the summit about the reference and the 1972 Elton John hit song "Rocket Man."
The report said Trump asked Kim if he knew who Elton John was, and then explained the song and reference to him after Kim said he did not know about the British pop star.
"Trump said it was a great song, and he intended the reference as a compliment," Pompeo wrote.
According to the excerpt, Kim and the others at the lunch laughed.
"'Rocket man,' OK," Kim said. 'Little,' not OK."
The "Little Rocket Man" moniker from Trump was one of several he used for opponents and others while campaigning and in office, including calling Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, "Lyin' Ted," and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., "Little Marco."
Before the 2018 summit, Trump and Kim had insulted each other, according to the Insider report, with Kim calling Trump "a frightened dog," and "a dotard."
Early in his presidency, as Kim fired off several missiles to test his military capabilities, Trump warned aggression against the U.S. would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen" and his "nuclear button" is "much bigger and more powerful" than Kim's, according to the report.
Trump and Kim had what appeared to be a fairly warm relationship during the remainder of Trump's term.
Insider reported Trump told a Florida crowd in 2021 that he told Kim: "I called you Rocket Man — that was great — because I could see you, I could envisage you, sitting like you sit on a horse, on a saddle, sitting on a rocket flying over Japan."
The report said Pompeo recalled in his book that Kim wore platform shoes but was still shorter than Trump when they finally met.
"I watched from the meeting room and noticed immediately that my North Korean friend wore platform shoes that left him about a foot shorter than President Trump," Pompeo wrote. "At somewhere around 5 feet 5, Chairman Kim could not afford to give an inch — literally."
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