Former NBA star Dennis Rodman opened up to CNN’s Chris Cuomo about North Korea and his stay at a rehab clinic. Here are some of the highlights that Rodman wanted people to hear:
He is not a traitor
It’s true that Rodman has visited North Korea, a secretive state accused of human rights abuses that has also been pursuing a nuclear weapons program despite warnings from world powers. It’s true that Rodman called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a nice guy and sang him “Happy Birthday.”
But, he told CNN firmly on Friday, “I am not a traitor.”
“My whole goal is to make people happy,” he said.
But he is still a friend of Kim Jong Un
Rodman says he doesn’t know Kim as a dictator, but just as a 31-year-old guy he calls “kid.”
“Yeah, he’s my friend,” Rodman said. “I look at him as that because he gave me the opportunity to at least come into the country of North Korea to bring a basketball team.”
The trip was intended to show the world that the two countries can get along, Rodman said.
“I wasn’t trying to look in the history books and what went on with his grandfather of father; that wasn’t my job,” Rodman said. “That wasn’t my assignment to go over, ‘Hey Kim Jong Un, can I come over here and ask you questions about why you’re such a bad guy?’ ”
He wants to go back to North Korea
And he wants to take Chris Cuomo with him.
Cuomo asked Rodman if he understood why his actions in North Korea were being criticized. Rodman responded that if Cuomo traveled with him to meet Kim, he would understand.
“I will take you over there and introduce you to him,” Rodman said. Once Cuomo meets the North Korean leader, he will see that “person to person,” he is a nice guy.
“When you meet him and sit down and have dinner with him,” and avoid politics, Rodman said, Cuomo would understand.
Cuomo accepted the invitation.
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