“Maybe it wasn’t tough enough,” President Donald Trump said this afternoon about his widely deconstructed “fire and fury” message to to North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un.
Taking to the steps of his New Jersey golf club for a rare mini-presser, Trump chest thumped, “They’ve been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years, and it’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries.”
“If anything maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough,” he said, insisting he is backed “100% y our military and by everybody” including “many other leaders.”
“They’ve been negotiating now for 25 years,” he said of previous administrations. “Look at Clinton, he folded on the negotiations; he was weak and ineffective.”
“Look at Obama; he didn’t even want to talk about it,” Trump added, skipping over George W. Bush’s eight years with “you look at Bush” as if the less said the better.
Last weekend, the U.N. security council voted 15-0 to sanction North Korea, in response to which NK warned it’s ready to teach the U.S. a severe lesson with its nuclear strategic force. Faced with the greatest challenge of his presidency, Trump responded with his much-discussed “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” speech.
During Thursday’s rare golf club presser a reporter wondered if negotiations with North Korea are an option in the world of fire and fury. “Sure, we’ll always consider negotiations,” Trump said, with Veep Mike Pence at his side. “But they’ve been negotiating now for 25 years,” then returned to his fire-and-fury leitmotif, promising, “it may be tougher than I said it – not less.”
By way of assuring rattled Americans, Trump added: “The people of this country should be very comfortable, and I will tell you this. 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 why. And they should be very nervous. Because things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK? He’s been pushing the world around for a long time.”
Asked the obvious followup question: What’s tougher than fire and fury? Trump stopped talking, and said coyly, “You’ll see. You’ll see.”
And, when asked if he’s considering a preemptive strike, he responded, “We don’t talk about that; I never do.”
In other headlines from his Golf Club Presser, Trump got asked if the country’s opioid crisis is a national emergency and, if so, why he has not declared so.
“The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying, officially right now, it is an emergency. It’s a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.”
Asked if he needed emergency powers to effect that, Trump shot back, “We’re going to draw it up and we’re going to make it a national emergency. It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had,” Trump said, borrowing a line from his North Korea threat language.
“When I was growing up, they had the LSD and they had certain generations of drugs,” Trump said, nostalgically. “There’s never been anything like what’s happened to this country over the last four or five years….. This is a national emergency and we are drawing documents now to so attest.”