“They will be met with fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which the world has never seen before.” Earlier in the day, The Washington Post had reported that the Hermit Kingdom has successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead, allowing it to ...and more »
Doesn’t know what he’s saying, apparently.
By Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images.
Yesterday, four days into his 17-day “working vacation” at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, Donald Trump took a break from his whatever it is he is doing to aggressively threaten North Korea, a country not typically known for having a thick skin. “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump told reporters during a meeting that was ostensibly focused on America’s opioid crisis. “They will be met with fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which the world has never seen before.” Earlier in the day, The Washington Post had reported that the Hermit Kingdom has successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead, allowing it to be fitted on a missile. The news was terrifying enough on its own without Trump ad-libbing his response. The Dow Jones, perhaps unsurprisingly, faltered for the first time in days, breaking its 10-session winning streak amid mushrooming headlines like, “Can SF plan for surviving a North Korean nuclear strike?” World leaders, too, were on edge. The comments were “not helpful in an environment that is very tense,” New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English told the Guardian. In a statement, China’s foreign ministry advised both the U.S. and North Korea to avoid using “any words or actions” that would further inflame the situation. Even Senator John McCain, who has rarely met a potential war he didn’t like, denounced Trump’s rhetoric as unhelpful.
According to the White House, however, the whole “fire and fury” thing is getting completely blown out of proportion because the media, and the international community, are making the mistake of taking whatever Trump says literally. Politico’s Josh Dawsey reports that individuals close to the situation have said not to “read too much into” anything the president said on Tuesday. Inside the West Wing, the language was not taken “too seriously,” either. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, en route to Guam, which North Korea had just threatened to bomb in retaliation, also said there was nothing to worry about. “I think Americans should sleep well at night,” he said. “Nothing I have seen and nothing I know of would indicate that situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours.” Minutes later, Trump sent out a pair of tweets boasting that America’s nuclear arsenal is “far stronger and more powerful than ever before,” and warning that “Hopefully we will never have to use this power.”
Trump aides and staffers have often spoken of the president like a temperamental child, easily distracted and prone to ranting and raving when his ego is threatened. It’s a tad less funny when America’s moody teenager in chief has his finger on the nuclear button and is tweeting threats from the golf course and and the best the “grown ups” in the room can do is tell people not to just ignore him. On the the other hand, they say comedy = tragedy + time, so perhaps hundreds of years from now, after the nuclear holocaust, this whole thing will be a real gas.
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