The president in an interview that aired Sunday was asked by John Dickerson of CBS for his impression of the North Korean dictator.
“I can tell you this, and a lot of people don’t like when I say it, but he was a young man of 26 or 27 when he took over from his father, when his father died. He’s dealing with obviously very tough people,” Trump said.
“A lot of people, I’m sure, tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else. And he was able to do it,” Trump said. “So obviously, he’s a pretty smart cookie.”
The president went on to criticize previous Republican and Democratic administrations for their handling of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
Kim Jong Un in 2013 executed his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, calling him “worse than a dog.”
Trump said similar things about Kim Jong Un in a Reuters interview last week.
"He's 27 years old. His father dies, took over a regime. So say what you want, but that is not easy, especially at that age,” the president said. "I'm not giving him credit or not giving him credit, I'm just saying that's a very hard thing to do.”