So this will come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but it’s worth mentioning just to underscore how dangerous this President is.
Recall our assessment of Trump’s “fire and fury” comments, which we posted on Tuesday evening:
Right, so obviously, Donald Trump doesn’t think before he says things.
Everything is a throw away comment. It’s all off-the-cuff.
His entire campaign, and indeed his presidency up to this point, has been the very definition of “making shit up as you go along.”
He has no concept whatsoever of the extent to which when you’re the President, you can’t just wing it. And the reason you can’t just wing it, is that when you hold the most powerful office on the face of the planet, the things you say have consequences.
Think back, for instance, to that infamous February 9 meeting Trump had with airline executives when he said this about tax reform and about his agenda more generally:
- It’s coming along very well. We’re way ahead of schedule. We’re going to be announcing something I would say over the next two or three weeks that will be phenomenal in terms of tax and developing our aviation infrastructure.
Markets moved on that and his entire staff had to scramble around and figure out how to meet a deadline they never knew they had until he opened his mouth.
Since the beginning, the worry has always been that one of Trump’s random remarks would end up having dire consequences. And that brings us to Tuesday afternoon’s impromptu fire and brimstone soundbite.
Sure enough, The New York Times is out with a scoop that confirms what everyone already knew: namely that Trump fired off an extraordinarily irresponsible threat without consulting anyone.
Here’s the Times, just out:
President Trump delivered his “fire and fury” threat to North Korea on Tuesday with arms folded, jaw set and eyes flitting on what appeared to be a single page of talking points set before him on the conference table at his New Jersey golf resort.
The piece of paper, as it turned out, was a fact sheet on the opioid crisis he had come to talk about,and his ominous warning to Pyongyang was entirely improvised, according to several people with direct knowledge of what unfolded. In discussions with advisers beforehand, he had not run the specific language by them.
But the president’s ad-libbed threat reflected an evolving and still unsettled approach to one of the most dangerous hot spots in the world as Mr. Trump and his team debate diplomatic, economic and military options.
The president’s aides are divided on North Korea, as on other issues, with national security veterans like Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, on one side and Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, and his allies on the other.
Neither camp advocated language like “fire and fury,” according to the people involved. Among those taken by surprise, they said, was John F. Kelly, the retired four-star Marine general who has just taken over as White House chief of staff and has been with the president at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., for his working vacation.
So exactly no one in the administration knew Trump was going to say that, and if they had known, exactly none of his advisors would have approved of the language.
Again, this is just further evidence that Trump has absolutely no business occupying the presidency and it also validates the contention that John Kelly isn’t going to be able to do anything at all to rein in Trump’s bombast or otherwise keep the President from inadvertently causing an international incident.
But again, we already knew that and so did the rest of the world.