Basketball Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman gave a North Korean official a copy of President Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal” on Thursday.
The book given to Sports Minister Kim Il Guk was not signed by Trump, who was Rodman’s boss for two seasons of “Celebrity Apprentice” reality TV show, according to the Associated Press.
Rodman arrived in the isolated Asian nation on Tuesday for the first time in Trump’s presidency. He said he is “just trying to open a door” on a mission he thinks may get support.
Rodman talked to reporters briefly before his flight from Beijing to Pyongyang. Asked if he had spoken to Trump about his trip, he said, “Well, I’m pretty sure he’s pretty much happy with the fact that I’m over here trying to accomplish something that we both need.”
The 56-year-old Rodman, who won five NBA championships as a player with the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls, previously traveled to North Korea in January 2014. On that trip, Rodman sang “Happy Birthday” to Dictator Kim Jong Un, who Rodman referred to as his “best friend.”
A senior Trump administration official told Fox News on Monday that he was traveling as a “private citizen” this time around.
Rodman’s arrival came hours after North Korea decided to release American student Otto Warmbier, who had been imprisoned for 15 years with hard labor for trying to steal a propaganda banner.
Warmbier, who had been confined for 17 months, has apparently fallen into a coma not long after his confinement began. Pyongyang said Thursday saying it decided to let him go for “humanitarian reasons.”
Washington and Pyongyang officials said that Rodman played no role in Warmbier’s release.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.