Throughout the controversy about the documents that former President Donald Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago, it’s been known that among the documents at issue are the “beautiful letters” that the former president received from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during the diplomatic opening that took place during Trump’s presidency.
Now, excerpts from an upcoming book provide more details about the Trump-Kim relationship, which may even continue to this day.
The issue comes up in Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America, a biography of Trump by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, and excerpts of the book recently appeared in the Atlantic.
In the excerpt, which was based on three interviews that Haberman conducted with the former president, she asked Trump about whether he stays in touch with world leaders. He stated that he doesn’t keep in touch with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping. However, when Haberman asked about Kim, Trump responded: “Well, I don’t want to say exactly, but,” before trailing off.
However, Haberman reported that Trump “had been telling people at Mar-a-Lago that he was still in contact with North Korea’s supreme leader, whose picture with Trump hung on the wall of his new office at his club.”
Haberman also asked Trump specifically about documents he may have taken out of the White House, to which he replied: “nothing of great urgency, no.” More specifically, Trump mentioned the Kim letters, and Haberman wrote that “he had shown [the letters] off to so many Oval Office visitors that advisers were concerned he was being careless with sensitive material.”
Trump had more to say about the Kim letters. “No, I think that’s in the archives, but … Most of it is in the archives, but the Kim Jong-un letters … We have incredible things,” Trump said.
Haberman further addressed the reporting on Twitter.
“Trump started unsolicited talking about the KJU letters,” she wrote. “When he registered my surprise and I asked if he had them, he finally said they were with the National Archives. In fact, they were not.”
During his presidency, Trump met with Kim Jong-un three times, with the first of those meetings the first ever between leaders of the United States and North Korea. When the two met in 2019 at the Korean Demilitarized Zone, Trump briefly set foot in North Korea, becoming the first U.S. president ever to do so. However, the diplomatic opening did not lead to any agreement.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.