Hours after saying U.S. military options regarding North Korea were “locked and loaded,” President Trump on Friday warned that country’s leader would “regret it fast” if he made any threats against the United States.
“If he utters one threat, in the form of an overt threat — which, by the way he has been uttering for years, and his family has been uttering for years — or if he does anything with respect to Guam or anyplace else that’s an American territory, or an American ally, he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast,” Trump said at his New Jersey golf resort.
And Trump distanced himself from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s comment earlier in the day that she did not “see a military solution to this conflict.”
“Let her speak for Germany,” Trump said. “Perhaps she is referring to Germany. She’s certainly not referring to the United States, that I can tell you.”
Trump’s reference to possible U.S. action in the event of a threat from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un marked a shift from his remarks just a few hours earlier, when he said American would respond should Pyongyang “act unwisely.” All week long, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have said U.S. actions would come in response to North Korean actions — not the incendiary threats that the repressive regime has made on a routine basis for decades.
The president also dismissed criticisms that his fiery rhetoric has escalated the first serious international confrontation of his barely 200-day-old administration.
“My critics are only saying that because it’s me,” he said. “If somebody else uttered the exact same words that I uttered, they’d say, ‘What a great statement, what a wonderful statement.’”
Earlier in the day, Trump warned on Twitter that “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”
It was not clear exactly what sort of “military solutions” Trump was referring to or what precisely would constitute unwise action by the North Korean leader.
Asked at his afternoon event to elaborate on the tweet, Trump declined to offer specifics. “I think it’s pretty obvious. We are looking at that very carefully and I hope they are going to fully understand the…