President Trump’s advisers were “well aware” that he planned to deliver a strong message about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, but Mr. Trump chose the specific language warning that Pyongyang faced “fire and fury” from the U.S., the White House said Wednesday.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said new presidential chief of staff John F. Kelly and others on Mr. Trump’s national-security team “were well aware of the tone of the statement of the president prior to delivery” on Tuesday.
“The words were his own,” she said. “The tone and strength of the message were discussed beforehand. They [Gen. Kelly and others] were clear the president was going to respond to North Korea’s threats following the sanctions with a strong message in no uncertain terms.”
Mr. Trump said Tuesday that North Korea would face “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it doesn’t scale back its nuclear weapons program. His warlike warning caused consternation among some, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
“His saber-rattling and provocative, impulsive rhetoric erode our credibility and weaken our ability to reach a peaceful resolution to this crisis, and must immediately end,” she said of Mr. Trump.