United States president Donald Trump shocked the world on Tuesday when he called the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man” while delivering his very first address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” said Trump. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”
From “Crooked Hillary” to “Lyin’ Ted” (Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas), Trump has become popular for his unconventional and sometimes ‘unpresidential’ name-calling antics, and it turns out this particular choice of name wasn’t so spontaneous after all.
Trump initially nicknamed Kim, whose country has had a tense and nuclear relationship with the U.S., in a tweet on Sunday:
“I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!”
However, the roots of this nickname goes a little deeper. So where did the name come from, besides the obvious (Kim is trying to build rockets)?
The thing is, Donald Trump likes nicknames and Elton John. And the tag “Rocket Man” is believed to be an obvious reference to Elton John’s 1972 hit of the same name.
The Chicago Tribune explains: “During the 2016 campaign, Rocket Man was a go-to crowd-pleaser at more than a few of Trump’s presidential rallies. In fact, John’s hit was played so many times that the singer himself weighed in. He told the Guardian that he hadn’t given then candidate Trump permission to use any of his songs.”
Apparently, Trump still clearly has “Rocket Man” — a ballad about an astronaut blasting off to live alone on Mars — on the brain.
American Comedy writer John Pappas tweeted a gif showing White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s reaction to Trump calling Kim “Rocket Man.”
John Kelly's reaction to Trump calling Kim Jong Un "Rocket Man" and saying he'd "totally destroy" North Korea: pic.twitter.com/S0ZR7B3Hql
— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) September 19, 2017