The US president’s brash words on social media have once again landed him in hot water, but this time it’s not just a matter of backtracking or claiming that “fake news” got his remarks wrong. This time, North Korea has taken Trump’s comments as a declaration of war.
Last weekend, Donald Trump posted on Twitter, saying, “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”
Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
The tweet seemed to be in direct response to foreign minister Ri Yong-ho’s assertion that Trump’s behaviour can only indicate that he is “on a suicide mission”, and that “Trump will be held totally responsible” for the loss of any US lives that come as a result of his actions.
While Trump made the comment on social media amid a flurry of posts about NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem, the underlying message was not missed by Ri.
The foreign minister was leaving his hotel in New York after attending the UN General Assembly, but he reportedly returned from his car to address the press gathered outside the hotel, and his comments left no doubts as to the severity of the situation.
“Trump claimed our leadership would not be around much longer,” Ri told reporters. “He declared a war on our country.
“All the member states and the whole world should clearly remember it was the United States that first declared war on our country.
“Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make all self-defensive counter-measures, including the right to shoot down the United States strategic bombers at any time, even when they are not yet inside the aerospace border of our country.
“The question of who will be around much longer will be answered then.”
When questioned about the situation, White House press secretary Sarah Saunders denied that Trump declared war on North Korea.
“Frankly, the suggestion of that is absurd,” she said in a press conference on September 25.
Whether or not the suggestion is absurd, Colonel Robert Manning, a Pentagon spokesperson, confirmed that the Department of Defense is “ready to fight tonight” if need be, according to a CNN article.