Mattis On Trump’s North Korea Tweet: ‘We’re Never Out Of Diplomatic’ Options

Defense Secretary James Mattis attends a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday took a less extreme stance on North Korea than President Donald Trump, who issued a number of zig-zagging, escalating statements after the nation fired a missile over Japan earlier this week.

“We are never out of diplomatic solutions,” Mattis told pool reporters, as quoted by Reuters.

Mattis was scheduled to meet with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-Moo at the Pentagon.

“We continue to work together, and the minister and I share a responsibility to provide for the protection of our nations, our populations, and our interests,” he said.

Trump on Wednesday morning complained on Twitter about negotiations with North Korea and declared, “Talking is not the answer!”

His tweet was an escalation from a more measured statement the White House released Tuesday after North Korea fired a missile over Japan. Trump declared then that “all options are on the table.”

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Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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