White House walks back Trump comment that first lady has 'gotten to know' Kim Jong Un

The first lady has never accompanied the president during his meetings with the North Korean leader.

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By Dartunorro Clark

The White House had to clarify a baffling statement President Donald Trump made Monday in which he suggested that his wife, Melania, and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un had developed a friendship.

"Kim Jong Un, who I've gotten to know extremely well, the first lady has gotten to know, Kim Jong Un — and I think she'd agree with me — he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential," Trump said during a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron following the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham clarified shortly after that, saying the first lady "hasn't met" the North Korean leader.

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"President Trump confides in his wife on many issues including the detailed elements of his strong relationship with Chairman Kim — and while the first lady hasn't met him, the president feels like she's gotten to know him, too," Grisham said.

Trump has long fawned over his relationship with Kim, which historians have noted is unusual for an American president. Before the pair met at a historic summit in Singapore in 2018, followed by a second summit in Vietnam in 2019, the two leaders had goaded each other over North Korea's missile testing.

However, at a September 2018 campaign rally, Trump told his supporters that the two eventually "fell in love" after their Singapore meeting.

“I like him, he likes me!” Trump said at the time. “I guess that’s OK. Am I allowed to say that?”

He added: “I was really being tough and so was he, and we would go back and forth. And then we fell in love. No, really, he wrote me beautiful letters. They were great letters. And then we fell in love.”

This past June, Trump also met Kim at the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea and briefly set foot into the isolated country, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to do so.

The first lady, however, has never accompanied the president during his meetings with Kim.