Speaking on Fox & Friends on Wednesday, Sanders addressed the nickname that Trump has used on Twitter, and most recently during a speech in front of the United Nations General Assembly.
“We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said. “‘Rocket Man’ is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able. But hopefully, this will not be necessary.”
According to Sanders, the nickname was a result of the cleverness of the president.
“Look, that’s a President Trump original,” Sanders said. “As you know, he’s a master in branding. … This is a problem that we’ve been dealing with for 20 years. And Americans wanted somebody, a strong leader, somebody who wasn’t going to put up with it anymore. That’s one of the reasons I think Donald Trump won. They saw strength.”
Except, as the Economist pointed out on Twitter, calling a North Korean dictator “rocket man” isn’t original.
In 2006, the magazine called Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong Il, “rocket man” on the cover, depicting the deceased North Korean dictator launching into the air, with a trail of rocket smoke following him.
Of course, the phrase “rocket man” comes from neither Trump nor the Economist. Rather, it was popularized by Elton John’s 1972 classic of the same name.
Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt said the “mainstream media” didn’t like the nickname, to which Sanders couldn’t resist the soft toss to blast the press–a frequent tactic of the Trump administration.
“That usually means you’re doing something right,” Sanders said. “If the mainstream media thinks it’s bad, then it’s probably—most Americans probably like it.”