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Trump says military 'locked and loaded' if North Korea refuses to yield

President Trump on Friday released another provocative statement aimed at North Korea, tweeting "military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely."

"Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!"

Trump's comments, at least some of which have not been scripted with his foreign policy team, have alarmed many allies and members of the foreign policy community, who have expressed concern about enflaming a volatile situation with an unpredictable nuclear foe.

Trump has not been deterred. He appears to be pursuing a carrot-and-stick approach, hoping his sharp language, contrasted with more conciliatory words from his Cabinet, will cow Kim.

So far, the language has only met with increasingly charged language from Pyongyang, which has threatened to attack Guam, the American territory in the Pacific that is home to a large military base.

Trump has appeared restless during his planned 17-day stay at his golf course in New Jersey, tweeting often and holding a pair of impromptu sessions with reporters Thursday, while spending long stretches outside the public eye.

In addition to the "locked and loaded" tweet, Trump also retweeted one from the U.S. Pacific Command with pictures of fighter jets and the statement that "Lancer #bombers on Guam stand ready to fulfill USFK’s #FightTonight mission if called upon to do so."

 

In addition, Trump has ratcheted up fights with Congress. He retweeted two "Fox & Friends" tweets directed at lawmakers of his own party, one using a nuclear war metaphor.

"Senators learn the hard way about the fallout from turning on Trump," read the story link, which included a picture of Sen. Jeff Flake, the Arizona Republican who has been one of Trump's toughest critics in Congress.

The second Fox retweet took aim at a more powerful target, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, suggesting a threat to the Kentucky Republican's job security. 

"Trump fires new warning shot at McConnell, leaves door open on whether he should step down," the tweet read.

That escalating fight, based in large part on who is to blame for the failure of the Republican Party to repeal Obamacare, could further hurt Trump's policy agenda. McConnell has spent decades mastering Washington's insider politics and is largely responsible for Trump's signature accomplishment, the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Trump's willingness to ignore advice on domestic and foreign policy illustrate the limits on the attempts by his new chief of staff, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, to impose discipline on the impulsive president.

UPDATE

8:34 a.m.:
This article card was updated with later tweets from President Trump and additional background information. 

This article was originally published at 5:05 a.m.

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