Gage Skidmore / Flickr trump speaking...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Donald Trump continued to demonstrate that his only “deal making” skill is ramping up the level of threats.

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“Locked and loaded” joins the previously issued promise of “fire and fury,” as Trump continues to address a delicate diplomatic situation with the skill of a … Donald Trump. It’s been clear from the beginning that the North Korea regime regards the acquisition of missile-based weaponry as its only protection from an existential threat. It’s not clear that anyone could talk North Korea down from that position, but Trump hasn’t tried. Rather than attempt to lower the temperature, he’s painted North Korea into a “use it or lose it” corner, with millions of lives caught in the middle as Trump and Kim Jong Un defend their hand size.

For decades, the idea of “Mutually Assured Destruction,” though known by history’s most-deserved acronym, has served as an ugly but effective means of holding nuclear belligerents apart. But the tag team of Trump and Kim has broken even that miserable barrier. Through their exchange of escalating threats, they’ve generated a situation where both sides are talking about starting a nuclear war as a defensive move. Mad doesn’t begin to cover it.

All it takes to de-escalate this particular game of chicken is for one side to decide that they don’t have to automatically react to every provocation slung by the other side. But so far Donald Trump has shrugged off every request to put down the lighter, including Democrats in Congress …

Dozens of members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday, urging “utmost caution and restraint” in further dealings with North Korea and condemning President Donald Trump for promising “fire and fury” in response to reports that the Asian nation is escalating its nuclear program.

Which of course … came before Trump’s Morning Double-Down on Twitter. Which itself followed Trump’s Thursday remarks that his “fire and fury” threat didn’t go far enough. What were we missing? Plague of locusts and ennui? Sour milk and Weltschmerz? Ah. Locked and Loaded.

But the key statement from Trump didn’t, for once, come via Twitter. It was part of his impromptu pool discussion on Thursday.

Following the meeting, Trump spoke again, saying “we are preparing for many different alternative events.”

Kim “has disrespected our country greatly. He has said things that are horrific,” the president says.

And that’s the crux. Trump sees the statements coming from North Korea as a personal insult. Which he’s handled so well in the past. On so many occasions.

As Sarah Huckabee Sanders has explained …

“When the president gets hit, he’s going to hit back harder.”

The idea that Kim Jong Un might be creating statements to impress his own audience flies right past Trump, because … it has his name in it.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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