Americans should worry about Kim’s mental fitness, not Trump’s: White House

Friday, 5 January 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters): The White House on Wednesday defended Donald Trump’s tweet about the size of his nuclear button, saying Americans should be concerned about the North Korean leader’s mental fitness, not their president’s.

On Tuesday, Trump responded to a New Year’s Day speech in which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned he had a nuclear button on his desk by saying that his nuclear button “is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

The tweet provoked strong criticism, especially from Trump’s Democratic opponents, and former Vice President Joe Biden called it dangerously cavalier.

Asked whether Americans should be concerned about the president’s mental fitness after he appeared to be speaking so lightly about nuclear threats, White House spokeswoman Sara Sanders told a regular news briefing:

“The president and the people of this country should be concerned about the mental fitness of the leader of North Korea.

“He’s made repeated threats, he’s tested missiles time and time again for years, and this is a president who’s not going to cower down and who’s not going to be weak and is going to make sure that he does what he’s promised to do and that is stand up and protect the American people.”

Trump and Kim have exchanged repeated insults in recent months in a crisis over North Korea’s program to develop nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching the United States, raising alarm worldwide.

Trump has at times appeared to dismiss the prospect of a diplomatic solution and both sides have threatened to destroy each other.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Trump had shown “really poor judgment.”

“The only war that is worse than one that’s intended, is one that is not intended,” Biden was quoted as saying by CNN. “This is not a game. This is not about, you know, can I puff my chest out.”

“The United States has a role in the world that the world has come to expect. I think the president is much, much too cavalier. And it’s dangerous.”

Senator Edward Markey, the top Democrat on the Senate’s East Asia Subcommittee, said Trump’s tweet “bordered on presidential malpractice, needlessly deepening a crisis and squandering a fresh opportunity to attempt diplomacy.”

Trump welcomes possible talks between North Korea and South Korea

Washington (Reuters): Potential talks between North Korea and South Korea are “a good thing”, US President Donald Trump said on Thursday in a post on Twitter in which he also took credit for any dialogue after Seoul and Pyongyang this week signaled willingness to speak. “Does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total ‘might’ against the North,” Trump tweeted, adding that “talks are a good thing!”