Sen. John McCain – unlike North Korean leader Kim Jong Un – does not like Dennis Rodman, and called the former basketball player “an idiot” Tuesday.
McCain, appearing on CNN with Piers Morgan, said that Rodman was being used by Kim to promote North Korea to the United States.
“I think he’s a person of not great intellect who doesn’t understand that he really does provide propaganda for what is a very brutal, ruthless young man," McCain said.
Because Americans really care what Rodman does.
McCain pointed out the naiveté of Rodman’s friendship with Kim, because the North Korean dictator is not someone to be dealt with lightly — as his powerful uncle, Jang Song Thaek, recently learned when he was put on trial and executed.
“Look, in one way it's almost comic, but on the other side of it, it really does enhance [Kim’s] prestige with his people and he’s one of the – you know the guy runs a gulag of 200,000 people and it’s full of unspeakable cruelty,” McCain said. “And he also has missiles and nuclear weapons. So it isn’t a child’s game here.”
Morgan then played a clip of Rodman seemingly defending Kim's imprisonment of Kenneth Bae, the U.S. citizen being detained in North Korea for unknown reasons.
In the clip, Rodman asks CNN host Chris Cuomo if he knows why Bae was being detained. Since no one in America knows the reason, Cuomo asked Rodman why Bae had been arrested. This prompted Rodman to launch into a screed attacking Cuomo for not knowing what Bae had done – the implication being that Rodman knew but wouldn’t say.
McCain called the exchange a “sideshow,” and condemned Rodman for the comments.
“The whole thing is – as I say – in one respect, it's kind of a sideshow with a guy that’s not too bright, that’s looking for something to do, and that part of it can even amuse us,” McCain said. “But when we’re talking about an American that’s being held prisoner and in God knows what conditions, and [Rodman] is basically defending [Kim], that’s pretty bad behavior.”