Facts Matter: Obama wasn't 'begging' for meeting with North Korea's Kim

President Donald Trump last month made history by crossing the Military Demarcation Line, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to enter North Korea.

While meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump said his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, had wished to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but Kim refused.

"The Obama administration was begging for a meeting," Trump said. "They were begging for meetings constantly. And Chairman Kim would not meet with him."

There is no evidence to back up this claim, according to The Washington Post. No public records or news articles report that Obama tried to meet with Kim.

"I am not aware of any attempts by the Obama administration to seek a meeting with Kim Jong Un," Victor Cha, a North Korean expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Post.

While being interviewed on CNN, Obama's Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he didn't know where Trump was "getting that."

"In all the deliberations that I participated in on North Korea during the Obama administration, I can recall no instance whatever where President Obama ever indicated any interest whatsoever in meeting with Chairman Kim. That's news to me," Clapper said.

"There is simply nothing to this," Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, told the Post. "I was in the (presidential daily briefing) and on the policy committees, and I was never in a single discussion about Obama meeting Kim Jong Un."

The White House provided no evidence to support the president's claim, the Post said. Neither the White House nor the National Security Council responded to the Post's questions.

In 2012, the Obama administration had an agreement with North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons tests and uranium enrichment while allowing inspections of its nuclear complex, the Post said. But the agreement quickly fell apart.

Harris was truthful about busing in 1969

The recent Democratic debates had some contentious moments.

While questioning former Vice President Joe Biden about his opposition to busing as a means to integrate schools when he was a young senator, fellow presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris said, "There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to public school every day. And that little girl was me."

Almost immediately, there were social media posts falsely stating Harris had lied about her past, according to The Associated Press. Users shared photos from a Berkley High School yearbook showing black and white students attending the school during the 1960s, AP said.

But Harris wouldn't have been attending high school in the '60s, AP said. The California senator began schooling in 1969 when she was 5 years old.

The high school had always been integrated because it was area's only high school, school district spokesman Charles Burress told AP. "That's where all the kids in the city would go," he said.

Berkley public schools began busing black and white students in 1968 to fully integrate its elementary schools, AP said, verifying Harris was part of the "second class to integrate" when she began attending Thousand Oaks Elementary in 1969.

Earlier this hear, Harris shared a photo of her second grade class at Thousand Oaks Elementary school, AP said.

Forever stamp honors Bush 41, not Trump

A video issued by the U.S. Postal Service featuring the unveiling of a new stamp to honor former President George H.W. Bush was altered on social media user to make it appear the stamp was created to honor President Donald Trump, according to The Associated Press. Bush died Nov. 30, 2018.

The recording of the introduction of a new Forever stamp was from a June 12 event held on what would have been the former president's 95th birthday at Bush's presidential library and museum in Texas, AP said.

The actual stamp features a portrait of Bush with his name at the top and USA Forever written across the bottom, AP said. The fake stamp, dated 2017, included Trump's image and Cyrillic writing along the side.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at

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