Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was forced to distance the administration Thursday from comments made by President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who said this week that Kim Jong Un begged “on his hands and knees” for his meeting with the president next week in Singapore.
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During a visit to Israel for an investment conference, Giuliani said that after Trump abruptly canceled the summit last month in a personal letter to Kim Jong Un, that Kim "got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in.”
In a briefing previewing the president's Singapore trip with reporters at the White House, Pompeo said he believed Giuliani was likely making the comment "in jest."
“I know Rudy," Pompeo said. "Rudy doesn't speak for the administration when it comes to this negotiation and this set of issues.”
Giuliani's initial remarks raised the prospect for a strong rebuke from North Korea, after officials there last month issued scathing statements in response to remarks by national security adviser John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence.
Speaking later in Jerusalem at a fundraiser, Giuliani didn't exactly walk back the remarks but did distance himself from speaking as an authority on foreign policy for the administration.
"That was a metaphor," Giuliani said. "I don’t think he crawled on his hands and knees, but effectively he did. And that doesn’t come from the president. It comes from me. President Trump would never say anything that was as outrageous as that."
It's not the first time Giuliani has landed himself in hot water by seeming to speak on behalf of the administration regarding foreign policy issues.
In early May, Giuliani told Fox and Friends in an interview that the president had succeeded in securing the release of three American detainees in North Korea prior to their actual release.
In a briefing later in the day, press secretary Sarah Sanders said, "we can't confirm the validity of any of the reports currently out about their release."