President Trump reinforced his threat to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea despite widespread criticism of his bellicosity, saying Thursday that his initial statement maybe “wasn’t tough enough.”
The strong language — Trump used versions of the word “tough” four times during one seven-minute exchange with reporters, while downplaying the potential for negotiations and sanctions — came only hours after Secretary of Defense James. N. Mattis stressed the importance of diplomacy in the increasingly tense standoff with the nuclear-armed state.
“Of course there’s a military solution,” Mattis told reporters en route to a visit to a nuclear submarine base in Seattle, which he said was long-planned. “But what we’re trying to do here is leave it loud and clear … in the diplomatic arena: It is North Korea’s choice. Do you want a much better future — the entire world community is saying one thing — or do you want a much worse future?”
Trump, however, expressed little hope that negotiations could defuse tensions or put an end to North Korea’s program to develop nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking the United States or its allies.
“Sure, we’ll always consider negotiations. But they’ve been negotiating now for 25 years,” he said, addressing reporters from his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., with Vice President Mike Pence beside him.
The statement came in one of two impromptu news conferences Trump held, for just under 30 minutes combined, before and after a security briefing from top advisors. The president is on what the White House is calling a working vacation, a 17-day stay…
click here to read more.