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President Donald Trump ignored senior aides’ warnings not to personally antagonize North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Trump said at the UN that if North Korea didn’t back down from its nuclear aggression, the US would “have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
“No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles,” Trump said.
The president then went back to his latest nickname for the North Korean leader, saying, “Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”
He added: “The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about. That’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.”
Trump’s decision to call Kim Jong Un “rocket man” and his threat that the US would “totally destroy” North Korea was reportedly improvised and was not in a draft of the UN speech that senior aides approved the day before he was set to address the General Assembly, according to the LA Times.
Intelligence officials and top aides, including national security adviser H.R. McMaster, had reportedly warned Trump multiple times not to make personal attacks against the North Korean leader, especially at a critical venue like the UN, out of fear that it could backfire and put a damper on US attempts to de-escalate the nuclear threat the rogue nation poses.
Indeed, Kim lashed out at Trump following the UN speech.”I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire,” the North Korean leader said on Thursday, according to The Associated Press.
And after Trump an executive order imposing new sanctions on North Korea, Kim responded by saying the US would “pay dearly” for the new sanctions.
Trump retaliated by calling Kim a “madman” who would “be tested like never before” in a Friday morning tweet.