In new threat, Trump demands North Korea 'get their act together'
WASHINGTON (AP) - Issuing a new threat to North Korea, President Donald Trump demanded that North Korea "get their act together" or face extraordinary trouble. He said his previous warning of "fire and fury" if Pyongyang threatened the U.S. again might have been too soft.
"Maybe that statement wasn't tough enough," Trump said on Thursday.
Trump, speaking to reporters from the New Jersey golf resort where he's vacationing, said North Korea had been "getting away with a tragedy that can't be allowed." Still, he declined to say whether the U.S. was considering a pre-emptive military strike, arguing that his administration never discusses such deliberations publicly.
Trump's comments were his first since North Korea reacted to his "fire and fury" threat by announcing a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers. Trump said it was time that somebody stood up to the pariah nation.
"North Korea better get their act together or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble," Trump said, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence. "It may very well be tougher than I said."
Trump said the U.S. "of course" would always consider negotiations with North Korea, but added that negotiations with the North have failed for the last 25 years. He accused his predecessors of failing to effectively address the North Korea problem.
Alluding to the threats against Guam, Trump said if North Korea took any steps to even think about an attack, it would have reason to be nervous.
"Things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK?" Trump said. Of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump added: "He's been pushing the world around for a long time."
During the same press conference, President Trump also spoke sternly about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
For the third time in two days, Trump is using Twitter to tweak Mitch McConnell. In an almost patronizing tone, he's urging the Kentucky Republican to plunge into work on health care and other issues, though Congress is on recess until next month.
Trump tweeted Thursday afternoon, "Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing. You can do it!"
The president has also jeered McConnell for last month's defeat of a Republican effort health care bill despite seven years of GOP promises to repeal the Obama health care law.
The White House says there's "some frustration" with the Senate's top Republican. It's the latest development in a continuing feud between President Donald Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Trump resumed his taunts of McConnell on Thursday, using Twitter to express disbelief that the Senate leader couldn't get Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Asked afterward about Trump's relationship with McConnell, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders says: "You can see the president's tweets. Obviously there's some frustration. I don't have anything more to add."
The president bristled this week after McConnell told an audience that Trump had "not been in this line of work before" and had "excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process."