In meetings with his aides, Donald Trump suggested attacking North Korea using a nuclear weapon. According to a book about Trump’s presidency, he said that the US could blame another country for the attack.
The remarks were made by Mr Trump in 2017, his first year as an American president. He was particularly belligerent in his comments about North Korea and warned Mr Kim in August 2017 not to make threats to the US.
Trump then doubled down on his address to the United Nations the following month by telling North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un that he would “totally destroy his nation” and ridiculingly calling him “little Rocket Man” .
According to reports, White House officials led by John Kelly, the newly appointed chief of staff, were far more concerned about Trump’s private conversations being similarly threatening.
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Michael Schmidt wrote in an afterword to Donald Trump V. The United States that Trump had threatened North Korea via social media within days of Kelly taking up the position.
The New York Times’ Washington correspondent writes in the new section: “What scared Kelly more than the tweets? The fact that Trump kept talking behind closed doors at the Oval Office as if he wanted war.” He sarcastically discussed the possibility of using a nuke against North Korea and said that the administration could blame another person for such an action to absolve itself.
Sky News’ US partner NBC News was also informed by Schmidt that Trump “would talk cavalierly against using force against North Korea behind closed doors.” There were deep concerns because Trump was publicly expressing the possibility of military conflict.
Kelly, a four star general and a former adviser to Trump, suggested that Trump subterfuge to hide where the attack might be coming from. Kelly was viewed as a moderate force during Trump’s 19-month tenure. According to the book, Kelly said that Kelly “would be difficult to not have the finger pointed towards us”.
Trump escalated tensions in North Korea by tweeting to Kim Jong Un: I have a Nuclear Button. But it is much larger and more powerful than his. And my Button works!”
He was the first US president that met his North Korean counterpart in the following year when they held a summit within the demilitarized zone of Korea.