Published Jun 18, 2020A whole pile of Donald Trump revelations have once again been made public thanks to a new book by his former national security adviser John Bolton. And among all those is an incredibly wild — and confusing — tale of obsession over an Elton John CD.
In Bolton's new book The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, he describes an incident where Trump apparently got dead-set on gifting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a CD copy of Elton John's "Rocket Man," signed by the artist himself.
But here's the thing — there's no real CD of "Rocket Man," making the entire tale a music journalist's nightmare.
The whole thing took place surrounding the June 2018 peace summit in Singapore between Trump and Kim Jong-un — a man the U.S. president infamously called "Little Rocket Man" more than a few times.
According to Bolton, Trump was determined to prove to Kim that "Little Rocket Man" was somehow a term of endearment and not an insult. And in efforts to do that, Trump allegedly wanted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to deliver an autographed copy of Elton John's "Rocket Man" on CD during a subsequent visit to Pyongyang.
"Trump didn't seem to realize Pompeo hadn't actually seen Kim Jong-un [during the trip], asking if Pompeo had handed [the CD]," Bolton wrote in the book. "Pompeo had not. Getting this CD to Kim remained a high priority for several months."
This backs up previously reports back in 2018 stating that Trump had indeed tried — and failed — to pass over the supposed CD.
The really confusing thing about this all, though, is what supposed CD of "Rocket Man" Trump was trying to give. After all, "Rocket Man" is a single from John's 1972 album Honky Château, and while there are multiple vinyl versions of "Rocket Man," there's not any actual CD of "Rocket Man."
So was it a signed copy of Honky Château then? And if so, was this maybe actually a shadowed insult directed at Kim Jong-un? After all, Honky Château was released only six months before Elton's previous album, Madman Across the Water — a title that seems much more appropriate when it comes to Trump's actual feelings at the time towards the North Korean dictator and vice versa. Plus, Madman contained the song "Tiny Dancer," which again feels very appropriate.
Or maybe we're just reading too much into this all, and Trump simply burned "Rocket Man" onto some CD-R and got some Gen X White House staffer to make some custom art for thing — '90s style.
But don't even try to say it was the Rocketman soundtrack because that didn't come out until May 2019, which is long after the 2018 summit.
Honestly, the layers here are almost endless, making this truly one of the most confusing Trump tales out there.