President Trump sounded like a character from a comic book, or worse yet, his adversary Kim Jong Un on Tuesday as he made a failed attempt at responding to new threats from the North Korean leader.
Speaking to reporters from his New Jersey golf course, where he is having a ‘working vacation,’ Trump said “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
“He has been very threatening — beyond a normal statement,” Trump said of the North Korean leader. “As I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
The statement comes in the midst of revelations that the rogue nation has successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead which it can mount on intercontinental ballistic missiles — the same ones that it has been aggressively testing during Trump’s young presidency.
The President is clearly engaging in the one negotiating tactic that he has ever displayed — bluster and threats. He tried it with Rosie O’Donnell; he tried it with his political opponents; he tried it with the U.S. Congress; and now he is trying it with Kim Jong Un. This, despite the fact that no one seems to have backed off in response.
Kim is less likely to be moved by such rhetoric than the President’s previous targets. The North Korean leader has made a career at lashing out against his opponents and playing a very high stakes game of chicken. Further, he has secured his grip on his people by keeping them scared of an attack by the United States.
Additionally, the harsh words come from a President who has a historic gap in credibility. In the latest poll from CNN, only 24 percent of Americans said that they mostly believe what comes from the White House compared to some 73 percent who said that they feel the opposite. Furthermore, Trump has made a regular practice of threatening lawmakers over various issues, particularly healthcare, never seeing those threats through.
In fact, in the latest incident where he threatened to stop payment of health insurance premiums of members of Congress, even members of his own party responded by daring him to carry out his threat — something he has not not done.
Putting that together with the President’s clear lack of even the most basic understanding of international affairs — or domestic ones, frankly — it is unlikely that his words will make many people shake in their boots.
Trump needs to tone down his rhetoric as his long track record of outright lies and empty threats have left him with almost no credibility. At this point, he draws more ridicule than concern when he extends his harsh words.
Reaction to Trump’s words from political media from both sides of the aisle has been understandably harsh:
Nuclear war Twitter will be the best Twitter.
— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) August 8, 2017
"I dare you!"
"No, I dare you!"
"I double-dare you!"
"I triple-dare you!"
"I tripled-dog-dare you!" pic.twitter.com/Li0Is6heod
— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) August 8, 2017
No joke: I read Trump's statement on North Korea and thought it was a North Korean statement on Trump.
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) August 8, 2017
The President of the United States shouldn't sound like Kim Jong Un. It antagonizes everyone while accomplishing nothing. https://t.co/MXsBRAc1Gd
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) August 8, 2017
This sounds like something North Korea would say. https://t.co/oXxHhRfNW9
— Jessica Huseman (@JessicaHuseman) August 8, 2017