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White House Trying to Water down Trump's 'Fire and Fury' Warning

12 Agosto 2017

For more detail on what he said, we're joined by Geoff Bennett. He's a member of the House Foreign Intelligence Committee.


MARTIN: What - are President Trump's words, though, undermining the potential effectiveness of those sanctions if it just keeps escalating the rhetoric and escalating the threats that North Korea throws back? Maybe it wasn't tough enough.

TL: Having served in the military, it's very clear to me that military force should always be the last resort and you've got to exhaust all other options.

"President Trump's threat to rain down 'fire and fury' on North Korea is like pouring gasoline on a fire", Mr Humphrey wrote. He said attempts by former Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have all been ineffective.

CHANG: But how do we incentivize China to adhere to the sanctions resolution and to help us exert more pressure on North Korea? North Korea responded with threats to launch missiles into the Pacific Ocean near Guam, a U.S. territory. We cannot leave our national security and our families' safety in the hands of a President whose poor judgement, belligerence, vindictiveness and reckless impetuosity constitute an indictment of his mental health.

CORNISH: People are also talking about this - what is being perceived as a shift on the opioid crisis. So two days ago, Price, you'll remember, said that national emergencies are usually reserved for what he called a time-limited problem, things like the Zika virus or a hurricane response.

MARTIN: The president has gotten a lot of criticism from Democrats and Republicans, members of his own party, for exacerbating the tension with North Korea by making statements like the one we just heard.

Trump and Xi “agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior.”

LINDSEY GRAHAM: President Trump has basically drawn a red line saying that he'll never allow North Korea to have an ICBM missile that can hit America with a nuclear weapon on top.

CORNISH: There was also still a lot of room for just domestic politics, right? The president has been in this back-and-forth, a kind of public feud with the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. We need to get - it's going to be tested quickly over the course of literally weeks as to whether or not China's serious.

CORNISH: How did this come up in the public remarks?

CORNISH: So McConnell is essentially defending the last couple of months in Congress. There are a number of Republicans who are libertarian and have a very strict reading of the Constitution and they would agree with me that the current launch approval process is unconstitutional. And you know, today he said actually it was a disgrace - that's the word he used - that the Senate effort failed by one vote. So this afternoon, a reporter asked the president, should McConnell step aside as majority leader, as some conservative commentators have suggested?

Inside the clubhouse, walls are decorated with magazines that feature Mr Trump: Bloomberg Businessweek (the 2011 caption said: "Seriously?"); New York Times Magazine and Golf Inc.

KK: Describe what you think the solution is to the North Korea issue. "But if he gets [health care, tax reform and an infrastructure bill] passed, I'll be very happy with him".

Trump spoke with reporters after a meeting with US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Bedminster, New Jersey. Taylor says he's hopeful President Trump's emergency declaration, when finalized, will free up more money to treat people in recovery from opioid addictions.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Geoff Bennett. It really just complicates an already fraught relationship between these two men.

White House Trying to Water down Trump's 'Fire and Fury' Warning