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 told the laughing audience.
On “Rocket Man” – #historytour#sunrise#Florida#trumppic.twitter.com/0WOqyIN4Gt
“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. In 2018, media reports provided a different account of the events, citing US diplomatic sources.
These reports claimed Trump had merely talked with Kim about the song, instructing then-State Secretary Mike Pompeo to obtain a copy of it. The diplomat later brought the cassette to Kim, they alleged, along with a letter from Trump. The US State Department refuted this account, however, insisting Pompeo had done no such thing.