North Korea calls Trump a ‘lunatic’ and a ‘loser’ in response to nuclear button tweet
North Korea’s official news agency responded Tuesday to President Donald Trump’s controversial “nuclear button tweet,” describing it as the “the spasm of a lunatic,” according to AP.
“The spasm of Trump in the new year reflects the desperate mental state of a loser who failed to check the vigorous advance of the army and people of the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] ... He is making [a] bluff only to be diagnosed as a psychopath,” said a commentary in country’s ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun, summarized by the official state news agency.
North Korean media were referring to the U.S. president’s response to Kim’s New Year’s Day taunt two weeks ago that his nuclear button was always on his desk. Trump tweeted on Jan. 3 that his “nuclear button” was “much bigger & more powerful” than the North Korean leader’s. He went on to threaten that the U.S. arsenal “works.”
Pyongyang still agreed later on to high-level talks with Seoul which has raised hopes over an improvement of relations with South Korea.
But North Korea’s latest mocking of Trump - even though it may not be unusual - certainly won’t help to calm tensions, especially given that Trump has responded to previous North Korean provocations by referring to Kim as “rocket man,” “short and fat,” or “madman.”
Washington Post reporter Julie Vitkovskaya recently summarized how Trump-Kim rhetoric escalated in 2017. Here are some excerpts:
April 28: Approaching his 100th day in office, Trump tells Reuters a “major, major” conflict with North Korea is possible but that he still seeks diplomacy.
May 14: Kim celebrates the test of a ballistic missile. He’s quoted by state media saying, “If the U.S. awkwardly attempts to provoke the DPRK, it will not escape from the biggest disaster in the history.” DPRK refers to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
May 23: The Post reports that Trump called Kim a “madman with nuclear weapons” during a phone conversation weeks prior with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Trump said: Kim’s “rockets are crashing. That’s the good news,” according to a transcript obtained by The Post.
Aug. 8: Trump warns North Korea that it will be met with “fire and fury” if it continues to threaten the United States. It is his harshest language yet against the regime.
Aug. 9: North Korea responds by saying it is reviewing plans to target the U.S. territory of Guam. “The nuclear war hysteria of the U.S. authorities including Trump has reached an extremely reckless and rash phase for an actual war,” said KCNA, North Korea’s official state media.
Sept. 17: Trump taunts Kim on Twitter: “I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!”
Sept. 22: Kim calls Trump a “mentally deranged dotard,” prompting the public to search for the definition of the archaic insult.
Sept. 23: Trump tweets: “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”
Sept. 19: Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly, Trump threatens to “totally destroy North Korea” and says “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself.”
Oct. 1: Trump sends two tweets. One at 9:30 a.m. EST, saying Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” and another at 2 p.m. saying he “won’t fail” to rein in Kim.
Nov. 11: After reports surface that North Korean state media referred to Trump as a “lunatic old man,” Trump tweets: “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!”
Trump’s Jan. 3 tweet about his “nuclear button” drew perhaps the strongest condemnations, as observers from the United States and abroad condemned the remarks as ill-advised and “infantile.”
“Trump plays with the subject so carelessly and recklessly as if it were some kind of video game,” commented Aaron David Miller, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars who has advised several secretaries of state.
In their Tuesday responses to the tweet, North Korean media also appeared to address speculations over President Trump’s mental fitness which were raised in the controversial “Fire and Fury” book. Trump has rejected the claims made in the book, and has boasted about being “like, really smart” and a “very stable genius” in response.
The Latinx experience chronicled
Get the Latinx Files newsletter for stories that capture the multitudes within our communities.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.