President Donald Trump has no tolerance for North Korea’s nuclear programs and capabilities — and he’s not budged from that stance for a very long time.
Nearly 20 years ago, in a 1999 interview with NBC’s Tim Russert, then-businessman Trump voiced his support for a pre-emptive military strike against North Korea and the Kim Jong-Il regime.
Trump gave two simple steps to getting things taken care of with North Korea:
- “Negotiate like crazy” to “get the best deal possible.” And if that didn’t work…
- Order a pre-emptive strike on military bases and missile silos.
Here’s the video (transcript is below):
TIM RUSSERT[:..] “One is North Korea. And you say that you, as president, would be willing to launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea’s nuclear capability.”
DONALD TRUMP: “First, I’d negotiate. I would negotiate like crazy. And I’d make sure that we tried to get the best deal possible. Look, Tim, if a man walks up to you on a street in Washington because this doesn’t happen, of course, in New York. But if a man walks up and puts a gun to your head and says, “Give me your money,” wouldn’t you rather know where he’s coming from before he had the gun in his hand? And these people in three or four years are going to be having nuclear weapons.”
“They’re going to have those weapons pointed all over the world and specifically at the United States. And wouldn’t you be better off solving this really potentially, unbelievable and the biggest problem. I mean, we can talk about the economy, we can talk about Social Security. The biggest problem this world has is nuclear proliferation.”
“And we have a country out there, North Korea, which is sort of wacko, which is not a bunch of dummies. And they are going out and they are developing nuclear weapons. And they’re not doing it because they’re having fun doing it. They’re doing it for a reason. And wouldn’t it be good to sit down and really negotiate something and ideally negotiate. Now, if that negotiation doesn’t work, you’d better solve the problem now than solve it later, Tim. And you know it and every politician knows it, and nobody wants to talk about it. Jimmy Carter, who I really like, he went over there. It was so soft. These people are laughing at us.”
TIM RUSSERT: “The former general of the Air Force, Meryl McPeek, the former secretary of defense, Les Aspin, said you could not launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea because the nuclear fallout could be devastating to the Asian peninsula.”
DONALD TRUMP: “I’m not talking about I’m not talking about us using nuclear weapons. I’m saying that they have areas where they’re developing missiles.”
TIM RUSSERT: “No, but taking out their nuclear potential…”
DONALD TRUMP: “Do you know that this country, Tim…”
TIM RUSSERT: “…would create a fallout.”
DONALD TRUMP: “Tim, do you know that this country went out and gave them nuclear reactors, free fuel for 10 years? We we virtually tried to bribe them into stopping, and they’re continuing to do what they’re doing and they’re laughing at us. They think we’re a bunch of dummies. I’m saying that we have to do something to stop. Ideally…”
TIM RUSSERT: “But if the military told you, ‘Mr. Trump, we can’t do this’…”
DONALD TRUMP: “You give me two names you’re giving me two names. I don’t know. Do you want to do it in five years when they have warheads all over the place, every one of them pointing to New York City, to Washington and everyone of our is that when you want to do it, or do you want to do something now?”
On Tuesday, President Trump warned North Korea that the U.S. will meet them with “fire and fury” if they continue to threaten the United States. The President made this statement after it was revealed that North Korea successfully created a miniaturized nuclear weapon designed to fit inside its missiles.
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