President Donald Trump on Saturday night traded humorous jabs with a cabal of lawmakers, administration officials, media figures and military officers at the annual Gridiron Dinner in Washington.
But the president also used the occasion to deliver some serious remarks about North Korea.
“I won’t rule out direct talks with Kim Jong Un, I just won’t,” Trump said, according to Politico. “As far as the risk of dealing with a madman is concerned, that’s his problem, not mine.”
“I won’t rule out direct talks with Kim Jong Un, I just won’t. As far as the risk of dealing with a madman is concerned, that’s his problem, not mine.”
Trump also laid out the conditions for any such discussions.
“By the way, a couple days ago they said we would like to talk, and I said, so would we, but you have to de-nuke, you have to de-nuke. So let’s see what happens … Maybe positive things are happening, I hope that’s true … We will be meeting and we’ll see if anything positive happens,” the president said.
The comments came during Trump’s speech at the Renaissance Washington Hotel, at an event that he skipped last year. Every president since 1885 has attended the annual dinner of the Gridiron Club and Foundation at least once.
But unlike the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, no cameras are allowed inside the Gridiron event.
According to eyewitness accounts, Trump delivered a speech in which he took shots at the media, his administration, and even himself.
“So many people have been leaving the White House,” Trump said at one point, joking about this week’s spate of White House departures. “It’s invigorating since you want turnover. I like chaos. It really is good. Who’s going to be the next to leave? Steve Miller or Melania?”
“I like chaos. It really is good. Who’s going to be the next to leave? Steve Miller or Melania?”
Referring to his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s loss of security clearance, he said, “We were late tonight because Jared could not get through security.”
Addressing Vice President Mike Pence’s supposed hostility toward the LGBT community, he said, “He is one of the best straight men you’re ever going to meet. … He is straight. Man.” Trump also said, “I really am proud to call him the apprentice.”
Another target was former chief strategist Steven Bannon: “That guy leaked more than the Titanic.”
When others were speaking or performing, Trump was reportedly a good sport — laughing and applauding at times during the evening’s entertainment.
He closed by saying: “I just want to say this, this is one of the best times I’ve had with the media — this might be the most fun I’ve had since watching your faces on Election Night.”
“This is one of the best times I’ve had with the media — this might be the most fun I’ve had since watching your faces on Election Night.”
A charitable organization, the Gridiron Club and Foundation contributes to college scholarships and journalistic organizations. Active membership is limited to 65 Washington-based journalists.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.