Trump de­fends N. Korea stance

Pres­i­dent: Maybe ‘fire and fury’ re­mark ‘wasn’t tough enough’

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

USA TO­DAY BED­MIN­STER, N.J. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump dou­bled down Thurs­day on his threats to un­leash “fire and fury” on North Korea, push­ing back against crit­i­cism that his ag­gres­sive rhetoric might back­fire and in­flame tensions.

“Maybe it wasn’t tough enough,” Trump said of his pre­vi­ous state­ment.

“It’s about time that some­body stuck up for the peo­ple of this coun­try and for the peo­ple of other coun­tries,” Trump said, “So if any­thing, maybe that state­ment wasn’t tough enough. And we’re backed 100 per­cent by our mil­i­tary, we’re backed by ev­ery­body, and we’re backed by many other lead­ers.”

Asked what could be tougher than “fire and fury,” Trump said only: “You’ll see. You’ll see.”

Trump said he would con­sider ne­go­ti­a­tions with North Korea and de­clined to dis­cuss the pos­si­bil­ity of a pre-emp­tive strike against Py­ongyang.

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

Trump spoke at his Bed­min­ster Na­tional Golf Club af­ter meet­ing with Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, chief of staff John Kelly and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser H.R. McMaster.

The pres­i­dent’s com­ments come two days af­ter he threat­ened to un­leash “fire and fury” on North Korea if the rogue na­tion per­sists in threat­en­ing the United States.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said Tues­day. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Yet North Korea’s top gen­eral es­ca­lated those threats, say­ing this week that he was draw­ing up plans to at­tack the U.S. ter­ri­tory of Guam with four bal­lis­tic mis­siles.

Still, Trump said Amer­i­cans who are con­cerned about the sit­u­a­tion with North Korean dic­ta­tor Kim Jong Un should be “very com­fort­able.”

“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,” he said. “Be­cause things will hap­pen to them like they never thought pos­si­ble, OK? He’s been push­ing the world around for a long time.”

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pushed back against crit­i­cism that his ag­gres­sive rhetoric about North Korea might back­fire.

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