Former NBA star Dennis Rodman launched into an emotional monologue on CNN as President Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday.
“I showed my loyalty … to this country, and I said to everybody, I said, ‘the door will open,'” Rodman said to CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. “It’s amazing when I said those things, when I said those damn things, when I went back home, I got so many death threats,” Rodman said.
He continued: “I was protecting everything. And I believe in North Korea.”
Rodman claimed that several officials, including former President Barack Obama, brushed him off and did not take his trips to North Korea seriously: “Obama didn’t even give me the time of day,” Rodman said.
“I couldn’t even go home, I had to hide out for 30 days,” Rodman said, his voice quivering. “But I kept my head up high, brother. I knew things was going to change.”
“I took those bullets, I took all that. Everyone came at me and I’m still standing,” Rodman said. “Today is a great day for everybody. Singapore, Tokyo, China, everything. It’s a great day. I’m so happy.”
Rodman has developed a rapport with Kim over the last several years, so much so that he made two trips to the reclusive nation and is one of the few American citizens to have met with its leader.
Kim is widely believed to be a fan of the 1990s Chicago Bulls. Rodman was on the team from 1995 to 1998, playing alongside the legendary Michael Jordan.
Rodman has a connection to Trump, who hosted the NBC reality TV show, “The Apprentice.” In 2013, Rodman was fired by Trump on the show, after misspelling Melania Trump’s name on a promotional poster as “Milania.”
Trump met with Kim on Tuesday and became the first sitting US president to give an audience to a North Korean leader. Moments after shaking Kim’s hand, Trump said “we will have a terrific relationship.”
“I feel really great,” Trump said alongside Kim. “We’re going to have a great discussion.”
Kim echoed the sentiment: “It was not easy to get here … the old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward, but we overcame all of them and we are here today,” Kim’s translator said.