The efforts of Trump’s Cabinet officials to do damage control after his “fire and fury” rhetoric were wasted:
“Frankly, the people who were questioning that statement — was it too tough? Maybe it wasn’t tough enough,” Trump said. “They’ve been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years, and it’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries. So, if anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough.”
Since Trump is preoccupied with the appearance of strength and “toughness,” it is not surprising that this is how he judges his own statements. It doesn’t register with him that many people were “questioning” his previous threat because it was wildly irresponsible and reckless, but only because it was “too tough.” So he made another threat that “things will happen to them like they never thought possible.” Of course, the more that Trump makes public threats, the more he boxes himself in and blocks himself off from being able to accept a diplomatic compromise. Given Trump’s disdain for diplomacy, that may be on purpose, or it may simply be another example of his ineptitude, but with each new episode of posturing he makes a negotiated solution less likely.
Perhaps the most dangerous part of Trump’s latest statement is his assumption that “it’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries,” as if North Korea has been running roughshod over all of us until now. He doesn’t see that he has taken a dangerous situation and made it even more so, but imagines that he is “sticking up” for everyone against a bully by issuing alarming threats that do nothing but worry most Americans and our allies.
Update: Trump compounded his errors earlier this morning:
Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2017