Former US president Donald Trump has claimed he played Elton John’s song “Rocket Man” to Kim Jong-un and presented the North Korean leader with a cassette of the hit during one of their meetings.
Speaking during the first night of his four-date ‘History Tour’ in Sunrise, Florida on Saturday, Trump recalled gifting a tape of the song to Kim when the two lunched together.
He said he’d asked Kim whether he knew of it, and when Kim replied he didn’t, gave him a cassette of the album and a machine on which to play it. “I made sure the machine wasn’t made in South Korea,”Trump spoke to the laughter audience.
“I played it for him quickly and I said, ‘I did you a favor because you love sending rockets all over the place,’” Trump said, claiming he went on to explain the ‘Rocketman’ nickname he gave to the North Korean leader, painting a Stanley Kubrick-esque vision of Kim.
I called you Rocketman – 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.
Trump coined the ‘Rocketman’ moniker back in 2017, repeatedly using it to reference Kim. He neither elaborated on Kim’s reaction to the gift and his explanation of the name, nor revealed exactly when the encounter had taken place.
Trump’s gifting of a copy of the 1972 hit song to Kim has been the subject of rumor, but the former president had never before addressed the matter publicly. According to media reports, the 2018 events were retold by US diplomat sources.
The reports said that Trump spoke to Kim only about the song. They also claimed that Trump instructed Mike Pompeo, then State Secretary, to order a copy. According to these reports, the diplomat gave Kim the cassette along with a Trump-signed letter. This claim was refuted by the US State Department, who insisted that Pompeo hadn’t done such things.