Former President Donald Trump in 2017 privately discussed the possibility conducting a nuclear strike on North Korea and diverting the blame to another country, according to a newly published afterword of a book on the Trump administration, NBC News reported.
Driving the news: The paperback version of “Donald Trump v. the United States,” by New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt, which will be published next Tuesday, offers more details about the period of heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.
The big picture: The book’s afterword recounts then-White House chief of staff John Kelly’s concern in 2017 regarding Trump’s frequent talk of going to war with North Korea, per NBC News.
- Trump “cavalierly discussed the idea of using a nuclear weapon against North Korea, saying that if he took such an action, the administration could blame someone else for it to absolve itself of responsibility,” Schmidt writes.
- “It’d be tough to not have the finger pointed at us,” Kelly told Trump, according to the book.
- Kelly tried to dissuade Trump from perusing the option by explaining the economic repercussions of such a move. He also brought in military leaders to explain to Trump the likelihood with which war between the U.S. and North Korea would break out and the devastating consequences that could result.
- Schmidt reports that the prospect of how many people could be killed had “no impact on Trump.”
- Trump was also “baffled and annoyed” that he would need congressional approval in order to conduct a preemptive strike on North Korea.
What they’re saying: “For the paperback of my book “Donald Trump v. the U.S.” I’ve done something a bit different than most authors and written a 12,000 word biography of Gen John Kelly onto it, telling the tale of his time as Trump’s” chief of staff, Schmidt tweeted Thursday.