Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, “got back on his hands and knees and begged” for the United States to revive the Singapore summit meeting after President Trump abruptly scrapped it last month, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said Wednesday.
The remarks by Mr. Giuliani, apparently intended to portray Mr. Trump as a tough negotiator, may have lobbed a disruptive obstacle into the salvaged meeting less than a week before it is set to happen.
The remarks could easily offend officials in North Korea, where a cultlike autocracy exalts Mr. Kim as a deity who cannot be seen as servile and weak.
“If the North Koreans needed a reason to cancel the meeting, the Americans just gave it to them,” said Evans J.R. Revere, a former State Department diplomat who specializes in North Korea.
Mr. Giuliani made the remarks in Israel during a capital markets conference, where he was explaining the head-spinning sequence of events that led Mr. Trump to cancel and then revive the summit meeting.
Mr. Trump abruptly announced the cancellation on May 24 after a North Korean official threatened a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown” with the United States and called Vice President Mike Pence a “political dummy” for having suggested that Mr. Kim had asked for the meeting under pressure. The North Koreans also were offended by John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, who has expressed hostility toward the North and has insisted that it disarm before other issues can be discussed.
Eight days later Mr. Trump just as abruptly said the summit meeting was back on, asserting that “we’re over that, totally over that, and now we’re going to deal and we’re going to really start a process,” after meeting with a high-ranking North Korean envoy who hand-delivered a personal letter from Mr. Kim.
“Well, somehow North Korea, after he canceled the summit because they insulted the vice president, they insulted his national security adviser and they also said that they would go to nuclear war against us, they were going to defeat us in a nuclear war,” Mr. Giuliani told the conference in Tel Aviv. “We said, ‘Well, we’re not going to have a summit under those circumstances.’’’
After that, Mr. Giuliani said, Mr. Kim “got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in.”
In an interview later with The Associated Press, Mr. Giuliani rejected suggestions that such comments might spoil the summit meeting, saying that Mr. Kim must understand that the United States is in a position of strength.
“It is pointing out that the president is the stronger figure,” Mr. Giuliani was quoted as saying by The A.P. “And you’re not going to have useful negotiations unless he accepts that.”
It is not the first time Mr. Giuliani has inserted himself into the Trump administration’s foreign policy, nor the first time his remarks have threatened to stir new issues for the president.
Last month, Mr. Trump publicly undercut Mr. Giuliani’s narrative about a payment by Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, to the actress Stephanie Clifford, who goes by the stage name Stormy Daniels. Mr. Trump said Mr. Giuliani would eventually “get his facts straight.”