President Donald Trump declared Friday morning that US military solutions are “locked and loaded” should North Korea act “unwisely.”
The President’s tweet came after days of escalating statements between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which led CNN’s “New Day” anchor Chris Cuomo to wonder if “using language that sounds like the title cards for UFC fights” was the best approach to diplomacy.
“Rhetoric from the President is hard to ignore or just write off to, ‘Well, North Korea always says stuff like this; we’re just saying it back at this point,’” said CNN Politics Editor-at-large Chris Cillizza.
He pointed out that Trump’s fiery rhetoric – which is notably different from the “strategic patience” approach of former President Barack Obama – has a lot of power and his willingness to be so bold as to talk about nuclear escalation using terms like “fire and fury” or say America’s weapons are “locked and loaded” is part of the reason he was elected by the American people.
The issue, according to Cillizza, is how people in North Korea perceive Trump’s statements.
Richard Grenell, a former spokesman for the US at the United Nations and one of the President’s earliest and most vocal foreign policy supporters, said that view shortchanged Trump’s full statement.
“Political types are going to keep trying to message ‘locked and loaded.’ They’re missing the rest of the sentence and I think it’s really disingenuous and shameful to not continue the rest of the sentence,” Grenell said, referencing Trump’s addendum in Friday morning’s tweet: “should North Korea act unwisely.”
He continued, “He’s talking about a missile defense program at this point. He’s talking about playing defense.”
He and Cillizza then went back and forth over the different ways in which the tweet could be read, both by Americans and North Koreans, particularly Kim.
“I do think you have to look at the fact that not every person is going to read every word of that,” Cillizza noted.
Grenell responded, “What I hear you saying is that people are only reading half a tweet and I find that to be crazy. I find that to be what politics and political people in Washington, DC, try to do when they’re partisan. This is a serious policy; we need serious policy people stepping up.”
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