Fierce Backlash After Trump Taunts North Korea Over “Bigger” Nuclear Button

Ridicule—some in the form of Viagra jokes—abound.

Bruce R. Bennett/ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

President Donald Trump drew swift condemnation Tuesday evening after he insulted North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un with a less than presidential tweet bragging about America’s stronger nuclear capabilities. 

Trump’s reference to having access to a “nuclear button”—one he insisted was larger and “more powerful” than Kim’s button—also prompted ridicule, some of which came in the form of jokes about male-enhancing drugs. (By the way, no such button exists.) Others pointed to Trump’s history of being overly concerned with size—from crowd numbers to the dimensions of his hands—and the dangers of having such an obsession drive foreign policy as tensions worsen between the two countries.

In his annual New Year’s address, Kim warned the US against further provoking North Korea into nuclear war, but he also appeared newly open to engaging in diplomatic talks with South Korea. South Korea quickly responded with a proposal to hold meetings at the border as soon as next week, with South Korea’s unification minister emphasizing that the country was willing to hold talks aimed at peace with North Korea “at any time and place, and in any form.”

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley offered a starkly different reaction to North Korea’s surprising overture. “North Korea can talk with anyone they want but the US is not going to recognize it or acknowledge it until they agree to ban the nuclear weapons that they have,” she said.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate