President Donald Trump launched into a wild Twitter rant on Saturday after a statement from North Korea referred to him as an “old lunatic.”
“Why would Kim Jong Un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The president has, however, repeatedly referred to the North Korean leader as a “little rocket man.”
“I try so hard to be his friend,” the president added.
Trump’s Twitter tantrum, which occurred while the president was in Vietnam as part of his trip to Asia, was apparently in reference to comments made earlier in the day on state media from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry calling the president an “old lunatic” and a “warmonger.”
It’s not the first time Pyongyang has described Trump as such. Earlier in the week, North Korean state media called Trump a “lunatic old man.”
Trump reserved some of his own choicest insults Saturday for those — apparently Americans — suspicious of his relationship with Russia, calling them “haters and fools.”
He also took digs at Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Both Trump and Kim have exchanged insults in the past.
In September, Kim memorably called Trump a “dotard,” sending hordes of curious Americans to the web to search for the definition, and the word trended on Twitter.
“I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged dotard with fire,” Kim said in a statement released by the North Korean government.
Journalist Jihye Lee said the statement actually used a term that could more accurately be translated as “old beast lunatic,” but it became “dotard” in the English version released by North Korea.
On Sunday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defended Trump’s Twitter feud with Kim.
“I think that was the president just responding the way he does to somebody who insulted him first,” she told ABC’s Martha Raddatz, when asked whether “name calling is helpful.”
Trump, meanwhile, expressed the “possibility” that he could become friends with Kim, when asked about his tweets at a press conference in Vietnam on Sunday.
“Strange things happen in life. That might be a strange thing to happen, but it’s certainly a possibility,” he said. “If that did happen, it would be a good thing for ― I can tell you ― for North Korea. But it would also be good for lots of other places, and it would be good for the world.”
This article has been updated with comments from Conway and Trump on Sunday. Marina Fang contributed reporting.