White House press secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed the notion on Wednesday that President Trump is taunting North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un by saying America’s nuclear button is bigger.
Kim said on Monday during his annual New Year’s Day address that “The entire mainland of the US is within the range of our nuclear weapons and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office. They should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality.”
Trump responded with a tweet on Tuesday writing, “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
NBC News reporter Kristen Welker asked Sanders about the statement during the Wednesday daily press briefing, questioning whether it is wise to provoke Kim.
“You just said that people should question the mental fitness of Kim Jong Un. So then isn’t it dangerous for the president to be taunting him on twitter?” Welker wondered.
Sanders responded, “I don’t think it’s taunting to stand up for the people of this country. I think what’s dangerous is to ignore the continued threats.”
She continued, “If the previous administration had done anything and dealt with North Korea and dealt with Iran instead of sitting by and doing nothing we wouldn’t have to clean up their mess now.”
Welker followed up pronouncing, “Sarah, it’s a taunting tweet to say he has a larger nuclear button than him.”
The press secretary quickly shot back, “I think it’s just a fact.”
Welker came back with one final question querying whether Trump knows there is not “one actual nuclear button.”
“The president is very well aware of how the process works and what the capacity of the United States is, and I can tell you that it’s greater than that of North Korea,” Sanders said.
Sanders was also asked whether “Americans should be concerned about the president’s mental fitness, that he appears to be speaking so lightly about threats regarding the nuclear button?”
“The people of this country should be concerned about the mental fitness of the leader of North Korea,” she replied. “This is a president committed to protecting Americans … and he’s not going to back down.”
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