President Donald Trump continues to blur the line between reality and television with his newest tweets. On the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 2, President Trump took to Twitter to super casually make fun of "depleted and food starved" North Koreans and threaten nuclear war. Again. Trump's latest North Korea tweet, while perhaps not exactly new in content, crosses a whole new line. It's time to take away the President's Twitter account.
Just before 8 p.m. ET on his second day back from his very strenuous golf vacation, the president tweeted, "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!"
Sadly, it's not that much of a shock that the 71-year-old took to his favorite social media platform, once again, to demean North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and to say that his nuclear button works, just like Kim's. This is the culmination of months of escalation — despite diplomatic attempts by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — from the president, who threatened "fire and fury" in August, and called Kim "little rocket man" in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in September.
But this tweet seems different: not least of which because he wrote, "my Button works!"
The subtext: I, too, can start a nuclear war. Trump's many, many threats over the months have almost all been about retaliation against the small dictatorship, predicated on the failure of diplomatic talks and the assumption that "little rocket man" would strike first (even if at American allies and not the United States itself).
While he is responding to Kim's recent assertion that the whole United States is within striking distance of North Korea, and the button is at the ready on the dictator's desk, Trump's response is, put lightly, ill-advised. As Gizmodo points out, Kim's assertion that he has a button on his desk shouldn't be taken literally. But Trump's threat should be taken literally: He is followed by the nuclear football, a briefcase that allows him to order a nuclear strike, at all times.
Further, the threat is odd timing. Kim's assertion came on New Year's Eve, and Trump's decision to wait two days to respond is not really his M.O. (He tends to wait hours, rather than days, to respond to people and news that he doesn't like.) Rather than being a genuine response to Kim, it's pretty likely that Trump is responding more to South Korea's willingness to start a dialogue with the North Korean dictator, which was announced today, according to CNN. The Trump administration has been clear that it won't support bilateral talks between the Koreas unless there is a total ban on nuclear weapons in North Korea — which is extremely unlikely.
The tweet is also astonishingly cruel. The attacks on Kim are one thing, but targeting North Koreans themselves — people who might be facing yet another famine in the name of nuclear proliferation — is extra disgusting. Trump clearly has no problem punching down (or going for the easy targets, the ones who can't fight back), but even this seems uncharacteristically nasty.
Trump has escalated his bad Twitter behavior since his return to the White House on New Year's Day.
This isn't the only tweet he has sent since he returning to Washington D.C. from his vacation at Mar-a-Lago. Mere moments after threatening nuclear war and threatening a bunch of largely powerless people, he also tweeted a bizarre announcement: "I will be announcing THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR on Monday at 5:00 o’clock. Subjects will cover Dishonesty & Bad Reporting in various categories from the Fake News Media. Stay tuned!"
"Stay tuned!" he wrote, once again confusing real life for The Apprentice. That's not all though: Earlier, Trump complained about Palestine and Pakistan, saying that "Democrats are doing nothing for DACA" (which he ended in September), complained about The New York Times, took credit for the least dangerous year in commercial aviation, and tweeted support for the protests in Iran.
To say the least, he has had a very busy two days embarrassing the country, threatening the delicate balance of international relations, and, oh, threatening to jail individuals employed by his political enemies.
Trump's Twitter account has always been a source of confusion and horror, but he has taken bad tweeting to a whole new level. His words have consequences, as we see phrases such as "fake news" proliferate throughout the country and the world with with ghastly results. Maybe it's time that someone actually shuts down Trump's Twitter account before he actually tests whether or not his button works. For real this time.