Trump to North Korea: Nuke Button? You Don’t Want to Go There

President Donald Trump once again sent a message to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un that the U.S. would not be cowed by threats of nuclear attack. In a tweet sent late Tuesday, Trump responded to Kim’s warning that he had a nuclear button sitting on his desk and that America should be careful not to provoke him.

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times,’” Trump wrote. “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one that his, and my Button works!”

This, of course, is not the first time Trump has come over the top of Kim’s apocalyptic rhetoric with bombastic replies of his own. Few will forget the president’s warning from last year, when he told the North Korean dictator that he’d better stop making threats lest the U.S. rain down “fire and fury” on his crumbling nation.

While Kim Jong Un surprised the international community this week by making overtures of peace with South Korea and engaging in talks that would nab North Korea a spot in the Winter Olympics in Seoul, he also used his first address of 2018 to engage in the usual fiery threats against Washington. “It’s not a mere threat but a reality that I have a nuclear button on the desk in my office,” he said on New Year’s Day. “All of the mainland United States is within the range of our nuclear strike.”

Trump’s critics predictably whined in harmony about the president’s dangerous retort, but many of his supporters were pleased to see Trump strike back with force. Michael Flynn Jr., the son of Trump’s former national security adviser, said it was “just awesome” that Trump should respond in this way. “This is why Trump was elected,” he said on Twitter. “A no bulls#t leader not afraid to stand up for his country.”

Maybe the most interesting part of Trump’s tweet is where he says, “my button actually works.” This would seem to indicate that the president has some inside knowledge about the state of North Korea’s nuclear program. Perhaps it isn’t as viable as Pyongyang has made it seem? Hard to know. It could have been little more than a light rhetorical jab. On the other hand, it could have been Trump’s way of calling Kim’s bluff – “We know that you know that you ain’t got the goods. Now what?”

Now what, indeed.

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