Nearly two decades ago, before he became the president of the United States, Donald Trump held a 1999 interview with the late Tim Russert to discuss how he would handle the threat of North Korea.
Trump said in the NBC “Meet the Press” interview, which has been given renewed interest via social media, that he would first “negotiate. I would negotiate like crazy. And I’d make sure that we tried to get the best deal possible.”
In 1999, current leader Kim Jong-un’s deceased father, Kim Jong-il, was still supreme leader. Trump, in the interview, called North Korea “sort of wacko” and “not a bunch of dummies.” He also commented that the communist country was developing nuclear weapons “for a reason,” but emphasized his primary preference was to negotiate peace.
“Wouldn’t it be good to sit down and really negotiate something?” he said.
However, not only do opinions change, but so do situations. Over the past year alone, under Kim Jong-un, missile tests have become increasingly more frequent, in addition to the nation’s hostile verbal threats. More reports continue to surface of human rights violations, and let’s not forget the abhorrent treatment of captured American student Otto Warmbier. There’s a reason the United Nations Security Council’s passed a landmark set of new sanctions in response to North Korean aggression.
And now, with the reports of the country developing miniaturized nuclear warheads that can fit inside intercontinental ballistic missiles, it’s no wonder why Trump, as the current president, is making stern warnings such as “fire and fury” instead of whimpered discussions of peace.
However, Trump’s opinion on the matter today versus 1999 isn’t that much different. He previously stated, during the campaign, that he would be open to discussions with the communist country if it toned down its behavior and actions. And, in the 1999 interview, Trump made a very telling statement in regards to what he would do with North Korea if peace negotiations didn’t pan out. When asked what he would then do if diplomacy failed, Trump warned, “You better solve the problem now,” before North Korea actually has nuclear-armed missiles pointed at cities like New York City and Washington, D.C. “You better do it now,” he said, indicating he would resort to strong-arming the regime if it upped its antics.It seems Trump’s rhetoric isn’t that different today compared to that of his 1999 self.
The examination of North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile launches, concluding on North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, was assessed on July 4 and July 28. Intelligence agencies and experts are now concerned that the isolationist nation will be able to launch a missile – armed with a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the U.S. – by next year.
On Wednesday morning, the DML News’ website ran a poll asking readers their own thoughts about Trump’s “fire and fury” comments made from his golf club residence in New Jersey.
The video of Trump’s 1999 interview can be viewed below:
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 9, 2017
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