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Trump administration criticized for coin featuring Kim Jong Un

W.H. plans for Trump-Kim Jong Un summit

The White House Communications Agency, a military unit that provides information and communications support to the president and his staff, has reportedly created a coin to commemorate the possible summit with North Korea that has been slated for June 12. But there are some hiccups with that coin.

Commemorative coins of the past WH

On Tuesday, President Trump said the summit may not happen June 12, casting the more doubt on the intended meeting than he has since he announced it. In a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House Tuesday, Mr. Trump said the summit "may not work out for June 12." Some had already criticized the coin as being premature, before Mr. Trump's suggestion that the meeting might not materialize. Others were offended by the coin itself. 

Commemorative coins are frequently issued by the White House Communications Agency, typically for summits with foreign leaders. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized Mr. Trump and the White House for calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un the "supreme leader," when he leads a regime considered responsible for the deaths of its own civilians. 

"I urge the White House to take Kim off the coin," Schumer tweeted Tuesday. "Challenge coins are a time-honored tradition and certainly appropriate in this situation, but Kim Jong Un's face has no place on this coin. He is a brutal dictator and something like the Peace House would be much more appropriate."

White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah said the White House "did not have any input" into the design of the coin, which was ordered by the WHCA.

"Since 2003, White House Communications Agency (WHCA) members have ordered a limited number of commercially designed and manufactured souvenir travel coins for purchase. These coins are designed, manufactured and made by an American coin manufacturer. These souvenir coins are only ordered after a trip has been publicly announced. The White House did not have any input into the design and manufacture of the coin," Shah said. 

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders reiterated a similar point in Tuesday's press briefing.

"This is not something the White House has anything to do with," she said. "We don't have any input on the design, the manufacture, the process in any capacity. This is a standard procedure by the White House Communications Agency, which is made up exclusively of career military officials. And these coins are designed and done by that organization."

Mr. Trump's announcement that the summit "may not work out" for June 12 comes after Kim made a surprise trip to Beijing, where he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Mr. Trump suggested Xi may have tried to influence Kim against attending participating in the summit.

"There was a difference when he left China a second time," Mr. Trump said. 

Still, Mr. Trump said he thinks Kim is "very serious" about denuclearization.

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