Dennis Rodman cries on live TV, says White House 'thanked him for helping with North Korea meet'
Former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Dennis Rodman broke down during a televised interview on Monday and said President Donald Trump was "proud of him" for his assistance in brokering a meeting with the North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
He also added that the White House reached out to him ahead of the summit to thank him for his contribution. "He called, his secretary called me and said, 'Dennis, Donald Trump is so proud of you, and he thanks you a lot,'" Rodman said, apparently referring to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
"And that means a lot. All of these years, I somehow had something to do with this North Korea situation, but I don't want to take credit," he continued. "I am so thankful to be here. I am glad this is happening. The world saw it. I saw it," Rodman said during a CNN interview.
Rodman, who was wearing a 'Make America Great Again' hat during the interview, became emotional when talking about North Korea and said: "In my heart and soul, when I first went to North Korea, I was very honored to be selected to go there," according to CNN.
"Once I went to North Korea, I didn't really understand what the whole situation was as far as being over there. When I met Kim Jong-un, I didn't know what to expect... But once I got to know the culture over there, I felt at home," the retired NBA player added.
Rodman visits North Korea regularly and even meets Kim often during his sports promotion trips, according to reports.
Rodman, during the interview, also slammed former President Barack Obama and said: "It's a great day. I am here to see it. I'm so happy. And Obama did not give me the time of day." Rodman was reportedly referring to his attempts to act as a mediator between the Obama administration and Kim.
The former basketball, whilst in tears, said that the received death threats for meeting the North Korean ruler. "I had to hide out, I couldn't even go home. I took all those bullets. Everyone came at me and I'm still standing," Rodman said.
The former NBA player said that people criticized and ridiculed him for meeting with Kim and said that he would be an effective peacemaker between the two countries' leaders.
Rodman, during the interview, said that he had initially gone to North Korea thinking he was just going to play a charity basketball game, however, he later realized that the experience was "so much more."
"I fell in love with the country," Rodman said. "The people of North Korea have a heart, have soul, charisma, and they love each other."
Rodman said that he cultivated a relationship with Kim after he kept a promise to bring a professional basketball team to Pyongyang in an exhibition game for the regime's ruler, according to reports.
The former NBA player also defended Kim and said that the regime's ruler is "not a dumb man" and that he wanted to travel the world, including the United States.
"This guy wants to be around the world. He wants to come to America and enjoy his life. He wants his people to enjoy his life," Rodman said on CNN.
Rodman, talking about the summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore, said that he hoped their meeting would be fruitful and would lead to a new era of peace between the two nations.
"We have really put ourselves on the line to reach out to North Korea and they have been so gracious to me, my family and the United States. So let's make this happen. If Trump can pull this off, more power to him," Rodman added.
Rodman described the North Korean ruler as "more like a big kid even though he is small" and added that he understands "bits and pieces of English."
Rodman, who arrived in Singapore on Monday night, said that he wasn't sure whether he would meet Kim but he would give whatever support is needed to his 'friends' – referring to Trump and Kim.
Trump, however, last week said that Rodman had not been invited for the summit.
When reporters had asked Trump on Thursday whether Rodman would be around for the summit, the Republican had said: "Dennis Rodman? No. I didn’t know about Dennis. He was not invited, but he's a nice guy. I like him."
Trump and Kim met on Tuesday in Singapore in a historic meeting to discuss nuclear disarmament, in an effort to avoid a nuclear war.