BEDMINSTER, N.J. — President Trump doubled down on his threats to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea on Thursday, pushing back against criticism that his aggressive rhetoric might backfire and inflame tensions.
“Maybe it wasn’t tough enough,” Trump said of his previous statement.
“It’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries,” Trump said, “So if anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough. And we’re backed 100 percent by our military, we’re back by everybody and we’re backed by many other leaders.”
Asked what could be tougher than “fire and fury,” Trump said only: “You’ll see. You’ll see.”
Trump said he would consider negotiations with North Korea and declined to discuss the possibility of a preemptive strike against Pyongyang. “We don’t talk about that. We never do.”
More: Analysis: Trump mirrored North Korea’s own rhetoric with threat of ‘fire and fury.’ Can it be effective?
Trump spoke at his Bedminster National Golf Club after meeting with Vice President Pence, Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.
The president’s comments come two days after he threatened to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea if the rogue nation persists in threatening the United States.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said Tuesday. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Yet North Korea’s top general escalated those threats, saying this week he was drawing up plans to attack the U.S. territory of Guam with four ballistic missiles.
Still, Trump said Americans who are concerned about the situation should be “very comfortable.”
“If North Korea does anything in terms of even thinking about attack of anybody that we love or we represent or our allies or us, they can be very, very nervous,” he said. “Because things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK? He’s been pushing the world around for a long time.”