Trump Asked Why A 'Pretty Korean Lady' Wasn't Negotiating With Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump makes remarks in the Oval Office. Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images

Months before President Donald Trump referred to African nations as “shithole countries,” he broke his decorum by reportedly asking why a “pretty Korean lady” who briefed him on policy wasn’t negotiating with North Korea on behalf of his administration.

Related: Will North Korea And The U.S. Go To War In 2018?

The exchange occurred in the Oval Office last fall when a career intelligence analyst specializing in hostage policy explained to Trump the impending release of a family that had been held in Pakistan. Afterward, Trump asked her, “Where are you from,” two anonymous officials told NBC News.

The analyst said she was from New York, and when Trump was unsatisfied, elaborated that she was from Manhattan, which is also his hometown. The president asked her where “your people” were from, according to the officials, leading the analyst to disclose that her parents are Korean.

Trump then asked an adviser in the room why the “pretty Korean lady” wasn’t negotiating with North Korea, suggesting that her ethnicity should guide her career path.

The exchange was detailed to NBC News after Trump’s “shithole” remark on Thursday drew backlash and claims that he is racist.

Trump on Friday tweeted, “Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said ‘take them out.’”

The president likely did not mean harm with his question to the Korean-American intelligence briefer, but it brought concerns that he lacks cultural sensitivity, the officials told NBC News. The network did not receive comments from the briefer or the White House.

Prior to these comments, Trump had been already accused of being a racist.

Trump began his presidential campaign by calling Mexican immigrants criminals and “rapists.” As president, he said some people who marched with white supremacists in a deadly Charlottesville rally last August were “very fine people.” His call on Thursday for fewer immigrants from Haiti and Africa and more from Norway was just his latest thought in a long train.

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