The Trump administration has made clear that Dennis Rodman is not acting on behalf of the United States government in his latest North Korea stunt — but that didn’t stop the NBA legend from bringing a bit of Trump-ism with him to the reclusive hermit kingdom.
The NBA Hall of Famer was photographed giving a copy of President Donald Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” to North Korean Sports Minister Kim Il Guk. Notably, Rodman seems to be the only person in the world to have interacted on a personal level with both Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 15, 2017
Rodman was featured on Trump’s “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice” television show, where he was fired for misspelling First Lady Melania Trump’s name. While he appears to have a friendly relationship with Rodman, Trump has previously spoken out against the NBA star’s past visits to North Korea.
“The only American who has met with the North Korean man child is Dennis Rodman. Isn’t that frightening and sad?” Trump tweeted in April 2013.
The only American who has met with the North Korean man child is Dennis Rodman. Isn’t that frightening and sad?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2013
“Crazy Dennis Rodman is saying I wanted to go to North Korea with him. Never discussed, no interest, last place on Earth I want to go,” read another tweet from May 2014.
Crazy Dennis Rodman is saying I wanted to go to North Korea with him. Never discussed, no interest, last place on Earth I want to go to.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2014
Rodman’s latest visit to North Korea coincided with the release of jailed American student Otto Warmbier, but the State Department would later clarify that Rodman played no role in Warmbier’s release and was not in North Korea on behalf of the president.
“That’s the main reason why we’re going. We’re trying to bring everything together. If not, at least we tried,” Rodman said in a video discussing his trip. “We’re trying to open doors between both countries.”
UPDATE [6/15/17, 12:54 p.m. ET]: This article originally neglected to mention that Dennis Rodman also presented the North Korean government with “a copy of ‘Where’s Waldo? The Essential Travel Collection,’ a mermaid puzzle, two sets of soap and two autographed jerseys.” We regret the error.