But the Kim exchange may be among the most fascinating, in large part because their relations were one of the more bizarre — and high stakes — aspects of his time in the White House. The letters reveal the flattery the North Korean leader employed.
“Your excellency Mr. President,” Kim began in a letter dated July 30, 2018 and shared with POLITICO ahead of the book’s publication. “I express my deep appreciation to Your Excellency for having a firm faith in the excellent relations established between us during the first summit and exerting yourself to honor the promise made in that historic day.”
The letter went on to say, “I feel pleased to have formed good ties with such a powerful and preeminent statesman as Your Excellency, though there is a sense of regret for the lack of anticipated declaration on the termination of war.”
In a separate letter from Trump, dated January 8, 2019, Trump wrote, “Dear Chairman Kim, I heard it was your birthday and I wanted to wish you a happy day. You will have many great years of celebration and success. Your country will soon be on a historic and prosperous path.”
In a commentary alongside the letters, the ex-president writes, “I was also given credit for calming down a very serious situation. When I met with Barack Obama before assuming the Presidency, he told me North Korea is the biggest problem the United States and the world has. I believe they would have gone to war with him had I not become President. Under my watch, there was no war—not even close.”
In an interview with reporters on Thursday, Trump elaborated on his letters with Kim Jong Un.
“I talked to him a lot. I got to know him very well. He was very smart. Very cunning, very streetwise. And we spoke a lot. Actually, we spoke a lot. And I think we had really, you know, a great relationship,” Trump said. “I don’t know if you remember when we started that relationship was very, very nasty. Very tough.”
“He said he had a red button on his desk and he was prepared to use it. I said, I have a red button, and it is bigger than yours and my button works. And we had a lot of anger,” Trump continued. “And I called him Rocket Man and Little Rocket Man. Lots of things and he didn’t like it. Then all of a sudden, it worked. And he actually called and said he wanted to be part of the Olympics.”
Trump includes letters from multiple celebrities — and presidents
The book features 150 private letters sent to Trump over his decades as a public figure, from celebrity real estate mogul to president. The correspondence includes letters from Princess Diana of Wales, Arnold Palmer, Oprah Winfrey, as well as Presidents Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Trump told reporters he would let President Joe Biden decide when and if he wanted to release the letter he wrote to him and left in the Oval Office.
“I did write him a letter and it was a very nice letter, I was thinking about doing it but was thinking it would be up to him,” Trump said. “It is a custom that you put [the letter] in the upper drawer of a certain place in the office. I did include the Obama letter but in this case it hasn’t been released by anybody and it would really be up to him to release it. I think it would be nice as a gesture if he wanted to release it. He might want to, he might not.”
Though the contents of some of the Kim letters are new, their presence is well known. Trump often showed off the letters to guests in the Oval Office and prized them so much he took some of them with him when he left the White House. The correspondence became part of his ongoing legal battle with National Archives over papers that may belong to the government and in some cases, classified material. In May 2021, the National Archives cited the letters as part of the materials that had not been returned by Trump. Trump also shared some of the letters with journalist Bob Woodward for his book, “Rage.”
When asked if any of the letters in the book were of interest by the National Archives, Trump said, “I declassified, I had the power to declassify and do what I wanted to do in that regard as president.”
“But we have some great letters but a lot of these letters were put out anyway they were put out PR wise… some of the letters were put out by the White House or also put out by the other countries,” Trump said.
This is Trump’s second book published by Winning Team Publishing, a company co-founded in 2021 by Donald Trump Jr. and whose roster of authors includes Charlie Kirk, Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro and Kari Lake. The ex-president’s first book, “Our Journey Together,” grossed over $20 million in sales during the first two months.
“No book highlights his iconic relationships like Letters to Trump, and we are thrilled to be able to share it with our readers,” said Sergio Gor, president of Winning Team Publishing in a statement.
The book will be available for sale on April 25 for $99, or $399 for a signed edition.