President Donald Trump took questions from reporters on two occasions Thursday, taking the opportunity at his second briefing to again warn North Korea about its threats against the United States and to express disappointment in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s failure to pass a health care bill before the August recess.
Here’s a look at the highlights from Trump’s second series of responses to reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey:
“I’d like to de-nuke the world,” said Trump, the same afternoon in which he claimed his prior threat to bring “fire and fury” upon North Korea “wasn’t tough enough.”
The president said that until such a day, the U.S. “will be most powerful nuclear power by far” with the “biggest, finest” nuclear arsenal.
“Nobody is going to be threatening us with anything,” said Trump.
Trump thanks Vladimir Putin
Trump thanked the Russian president for expelling hundreds of U.S. diplomatic employees from Russia, appearing to suggest it will save the U.S. money.
“As far as I’m concerned I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll,” Trump said. It was unclear whether he was joking.
Putin’s move was in response to new sanctions against Russia, among other countries, signed into law by Trump earlier this month.
A decision on whether to send additional members of the military to Afghanistan is “getting close,” according to Trump, who characterized the situation in that country as “a mess.”
“It’s a very big decision for me,” said Trump. “I took over a mess and we’re going to make it a lot less messy.”
Transgender service members
Following up on a series of tweets two weeks ago in which he wrote that “the United States Government will not accept or allow … transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump expressed his belief that he would be “doing the military a great favor” by instituting such a ban.
The president said he believed he was “doing a lot of people a favor by coming out and just saying it,” with reference to his proposed rule and revealed that “the military was working on it.”
Trump said he was “surprised” to learn of the pre-dawn FBI search of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s Virginia home in July.
“I thought it was a very, very strong signal,” said Trump, elaborating that he believed…