President Trump issued yet more provocative warnings of military action against North Korea on Friday as he continued to suggest that he was ready to strike the small, isolated Asian country that has been developing nuclear weapons capable of reaching the United States….
“This man will not get away with what he’s doing,” the president told reporters at his golf club in nearby Bedminster, N.J., where he planned to meet with members of his national security team later in the day. “If he utters one threat in the form of an overt threat” or takes action against the United States territory of Guam or against America’s allies, “he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast.”
So, to recap: We started out with Trump threatening “fire and fury” in response to any further threats from Kim Jong Un. Then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson softened that to mean that the U.S. would merely respond to any “attack.” And now Trump is back to saying that destruction will rain down if Kim “utters one threat.” Great job, John Kelly!
The roster of villains in President Trump’s world is legion. The list of people he has been willing, even eager, to publicly attack includes not just Mitch McConnell, his latest target, but Jeff Sessions, Chuck Schumer, Paul D. Ryan, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
And don’t forget James B. Comey, Robert S. Mueller III, Andrew G. McCabe, Rod J. Rosenstein, John D. Podesta, Nancy Pelosi, Lisa Murkowski, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rosie O’Donnell, Meryl Streep, the mayor of London and the cast of “Saturday Night Live.” The countries he has assailed include not just North Korea and Iran but also Germany, Canada, Mexico, China and Sweden.
Ever since Mr. Trump jumped into political life, Washington has scratched its collective head over his curious affinity for the strongman of the Kremlin. But the president’s determination to avoid saying anything even remotely critical of Mr. Putin was brought home in stark relief on Thursday when he twisted himself into a knot over a question about the Russian leader’s decision to order the United States Embassy to slash its staff by more than half. Rather than complain, Mr. Trump expressed gratitude.
And let’s not forget that Trump regularly denounces the entire Russia probe — which isn’t just looking into his conduct, but also into Russian sabotage of our democracy, irrespective of whether was any Trump campaign collusion with it — as nothing but a hoax.
* With Trump issuing threatening tweets and declarations multiple times a day at this point, Dan Lamothe has a good explainer as to how prepared for war we really are.
* A White House official now tells ABC News that Trump was being “sarcastic” when he thanked Vladimir Putin for expelling hundreds of U.S. diplomats from Russia. Raise your hand if you believe that.
* Caitlin Owens reports that a key House conservative is teaming up with a leading moderate House member to work on a bill to stabilize the insurance markets, which suggests the possibility of real movement.
* Dave Weigel has an interesting report on how some congressional Republicans are still getting pummeled by constituents over their repeal push, a reminder of just how deeply unpopular it really was (and is).
* Scott Lemieux reports on a town hall meeting at which New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand talked about Medicare-for-all, and explains what this might tell us about the Democratic Party heading into 2020.
* There’s a lot of chatter about a deeply conspiratorial memo about how to wage political war for Trump that got an NSC staffer fired. James Downie deconstructs what its contents tell us about Trumpism and traces their roots into the historical past of the right.
Since Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election propelled a political realignment, every new president has scored a major early legislative victory except one. That’s Trump — despite the advantage of full Republican control of Congress.