On Twitter, some conservatives are hailing it as “the greatest troll of all time.”
Rodman is one of the few people in the world who can boast close friendships with both the North Koran dictator, Kim Jong-Un, and Trump, whom he worked under through two seasons of Celebrity Apprentice.
The retired sports star’s relationship with Kim began when he traveled to the isolated Asian nation in January 2014 to celebrate the dictator’s birthday. Rodman made a second journey to visit the man he calls his “best friend” on Tuesday.
Although Rodman claims he is traveling as a private citizen, he believes that his visit could “open a door” for the U.S.
As he boarded his flight to Pyongyang, journalists asked whether Trump was aware of the trip.
“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,” Rodman said, according to the Associated Press.
The AP confirmed that the copy of Trump’s book was not signed by the president in advance of the presentation.
Rodman’s arrival in North Korea coincides with—but is not connected to—the release of 22-year-old American student Otto Warmbier, who returned to the U.S. and to his family in a coma. Warmbier had been sentenced to 15 years hard labor in 2016 after he allegedly attempted to take a government propaganda poster home with him.
The regime claimed that the student fell unconscious after contracting botulism, a bacterial infection that can cause paralysis and death. U.S. doctors, however, assess that he suffered a “severe neurological injury,” and Warmbier’s father has publicly disputed the government’s explanation.