Trump: Maybe Threatening North Korea With ‘Fire And Fury’ Not Tough Enough

People walk by a TV screen showing a local news program reporting with an image of U.S.President Donald Trump at Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. North Korea and the United States traded escalating threats, with President Donald Trump threatening Pyongyang "with fire and fury like the world has never seen" and the North's military claiming Wednesday it was examining its plans for attacking Guam. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Lee Jin-man/AP
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President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested his threat to meet North Korea’s new alleged nuclear capabilities with “fire and fury like the world has never seen” might not have been quite strong enough.

“If anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough,” Trump told reporters. “It’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country.”

Trump told North Korea to “get their act together” and threatened trouble “like few nations have ever been” in if it does not comply.

He also said the military supports his statements “100 percent” and said he would not discuss the possibility of a preemptive strike against North Korea.

“We don’t talk about that,” he said. “I never do.”

The President remains on a “working vacation” at his New Jersey golf club.

Trump on Tuesday responded to reports that North Korea has successfully produced a nuclear weapon small enough to fit into an intercontinental ballistic missile by saying the nation “best not make any more threats to the United States.”

“They will be met with fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before,” Trump said.

North Korea on Wednesday called Trump’s threat a “load of nonsense” and said “only absolute force” can work on a “guy” as “bereft of reason” as the President.

The nation threatened to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, creating “an enveloping fire” to “signal a crucial warning to the U.S.”

“I don’t think they mean that. I think it’s the first time they heard it the way they’ve heard it like they heard it,” Trump said of the North Korean response to his statement. “Maybe it wasn’t tough enough.”

“What would be tougher than fire and fury?” a reporter asked.

“Well, you’ll see,” Trump said. “You’ll see.”

He said “the people of this country should be very comfortable” despite the escalating rhetoric on both sides.

“If North Korea does anything in terms of even thinking about attack of anybody that we love or we represent or our allies or us, they can be very, very nervous, I’ll tell you what. And they should be very nervous,” Trump said. “North Korea better get their act together or they’re going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world, okay?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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