How embarrassing! George Stephanopoulos flubbed the ABC News coverage of Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korea dictator Kim Jong-Un by accidentally insulting the president.
It was supposed to be a historic meeting. But, as the world was watching President Donald Trump, 71, shake the hands of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos accidentally called POTUS, “President Chump.” Twitter picked up on the mishap immediately and within minutes it became a joke on social media.
After meeting in front of the Capella Hotel in Singapore, Trump and Jong-Un went inside and chatted briefly to reporters. Giving commentary, George accidentally slipped up and called Trump, “Chump” before quickly correcting himself. But many Twitter users thought he got it right the first time. One person tweeted, “’President Chump’ is exactly right.” Another person added, “LMAO George Stephanopoulos accidentally said “President Chump”. That may have [been] worth the #TheBachelorette interruption.”
On a more serious note, Trump, who used to call the North Korean “little rocket man,” was dripping with compliments. He told reporters before they headed off to meet in private, “I feel really great. We’re going to have a great discussion and I think tremendous success… And it’s my honor and we will have a terrific relationship. I have no doubt.”
George Stephanopoulos, you didn't need to correct yourself.
— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly 🌊 BWCS (@AynRandPaulRyan) June 12, 2018
— Laurel R. (@golightly823) June 12, 2018
Trump has insisted since he took office in 2017 that he would hold a summit with Kim, and while many (if not most) didn’t think it would happen, here we are. As Jean H. Lee, a North Korea expert at the US-based Wilson Center, told CNN prior to the meeting, “To have a summit with a US President is something that many countries aspire to. So for North Korea, for a tiny country which is technically still at war with the US, for their leader to sit down with a president is huge deal.”
The Kim family has been desperate to meet with a sitting US president for decades, stretching back to the era of Kim’s grandfather. Former President Bill Clinton nearly met with his father, Kim Jong Il in the 1990s, but backed out due to lack of trust. To get the attention of the United States gives some legitimacy to the North Korean regime, according to experts.
Prior to the meeting, Trump said he was going to discuss human rights with Kim. North Korea is one of the largest abusers of human rights, according to watchdog agencies and human rights groups. A 2014 report from the United Nations said that the regime had committed, “systemic, widespread and gross human rights violations” including “arbitrary detention, torture, executions and enforced disappearance to political prison camps, violations of the freedoms of thought, expression and religion, (and) discrimination on the basis of State-assigned social class, gender, and disability.”
It’s unclear if Trump discussed the tragic case of Otto Warmbier, a 20-year-old American student who died after 17 months detention in North Korea. He was released in 2017, but came back braindead. The Kim government declared that he contracted an illness, but cranial scans back in the United States showed significant brain trauma — similar to what would occur if someone were heavily beaten.