Trump Threatens North Korea and Then Welcomes Rambo to Oval Office

Shortly after nixing a historic summit with North Korea, President Donald Trump welcomed famed actor and star of the Rambo and Rocky film franchises Sylvester Stallone along with former and current heavyweight boxing champions to the Oval Office Thursday to pardon boxing great Jack Johnson.

Following the release of a letter to Kim Jong Un canceling the planned June 12 meeting, Trump appeared to leave an opportunity for it to still go ahead. But the president first met with Stallone, ex-champion Lennox Lewis and WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder to sign Johnson's pardon.

Johnson was the first African-American heavyweight champion in boxing's history but was convicted in 1913 for violating the Mann Act, which forbid the transportation of women or girls across state lines and was largely used against black men.

A picture of Trump signing the pardon also appeared to show Wilder's championship belt sitting on the president's desk.

NEW: Pres Trump signs a posthumous pardon for Jack Johnson, boxing’s 1st black heavyweight champion. @TheSlyStallone and @LennoxLewis were there in the Oval for the moment.

More here: https://t.co/MXhoXoVHDx pic.twitter.com/ZazG6gjLes

— Karen Travers (@karentravers) May 24, 2018

Stallone originally lobbied Trump on the late Johnson's behalf last month, and the president later hinted he was considering a pardon to wipe away the boxing great's conviction. The Obama administration opted not to pardon Johnson citing, in part, allegations of domestic abuse, according to The New York Times.

“I still don’t know which I like better,” says Trump to Sylvester Stallone about his love for both Rocky and Rambo movies

— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) May 24, 2018

Before the meeting, Lewis, Stallone and Wilder snapped some shots in the White House.

Me and @BronzeBomber turning @TheSlyStallone into a knuckle sandwich. 😂😂😂 We are in DC for pardoning of Jack Johnson who was wrongfully convicted of violating #TheMannAct pic.twitter.com/2fRzllgnpd

— Lennox Lewis, CBE, CM (@LennoxLewis) May 24, 2018

"Waiting for the moment to go into the oval office for the pardon of the great black hat with a champion Jack Johnson," Stallone wrote on his Instagram page.

Trump was also quoted as saying he was torn on whether "Rocky" or "Rambo" was his favorite.

“I still don’t know which I like better,” says Trump to Sylvester Stallone about his love for both Rocky and Rambo movies

— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) May 24, 2018

The lighthearted nature of the pardon signing stood in stark contrast to the letter Trump sent to Kim in canceling the meeting. Trump encouraged Kim to write or to call him, leaving the chance that the summit could still happen, but also mentioned the might of the U.S.'s nuclear weapons.

"You talk about you nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to used," Trump wrote to Kim.

The June 12 summit in Singapore would have been the first time a U.S. president had met a North Korean leader, and the planning seemed promising to many until the North insulted Vice President Mike Pence by calling him a "dummy" over his remarks about how Kim's regime should not "play" with Trump.

North Korea also insisted last week that complete denuclearization of its regime was not going to be up for discussion at the expected summit, backtracking from previous public claims and sending the possibility of a solid agreement into a tailspin.

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President Donald Trump jokes with actor Sylvester Stallone(R) before signing a posthumous pardon for former world champion boxer Jack Johnson in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 24, 2018, as boxer Deontay Wilder looks on. AFP via Getty Images/Nicholas Kamm