Trump jokingly says he wants people to 'sit up at attention' when he speaks

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON -

President Donald Trump said he wants his people to "sit up at attention" when he speaks, just like North Korea's Kim Jong Un, but later said he'd meant the comment in jest.

Trump said during an interview outside the White House Friday that Kim's power should not be underestimated.

Trump says, "Hey, he's the head of a country, and I mean he is the strong head. Don't let anyone think anything different."

He went on to say that when Kim speaks, "his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same."

But U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez tells News 12 New Jersey that the North Korean leader is not someone to aspire to.

“When you say that he loves his people, Kim Jong Un as internationally recognized, is one of the worst human rights violators in the world. Has tens of thousands of people in North Korean prisons. He has created hunger for his own people. He actually has assassinated members of his family in order to stay in power. That's not someone who loves his people you're honored to meet."

The president had been answering a question about whether Kim might some day visit the White House.

Trump later chastised a reporter who asked about the “sit up at attention” remark, saying he was "kidding" and the reporter didn't "understand sarcasm."

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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