Trump is publicly threatening to launch nuclear missiles. Fox News thinks thats a rip-roaring joke.
The idea that the president of the United States could be on the verge of launching weapons that annihilate millions of people in seconds would elicit a reaction of horror from any reasonable person.
But to Donald Trumps cheerleaders on Fox News, it is simply a big joke that he threatened nuclear-armed North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un with a bigger button.
On Wednesday, Kimberley Guilfoyle explained that it was all in good fun because Trump was unnerving Kim Jong Un.
.@kimguilfoyle on Kim Jong Un's 'nuclear button', and @realDonaldTrump's tweet in response: "I think it's hilarious because [Kim Jong Un is] feeling insecure about himself because @POTUS is unnerving him. He doesn't like it. Psychologically, he's not responding well to it." pic.twitter.com/LPiRntbSMB
Fox News (@FoxNews) January 4, 2018
I kind of like this, because its obviously thrown Kim Jong Un over the edge, and now hes getting a mommy makeover and a tuck. And I think its hilarious, because he is feeling insecure about himself because President Trump is unnerving him. He doesnt like it. Psychologically, hes not responding well to it. I mean, I dont have a problem with that, you know, President Trumps tweet. I think its fantastic. Im glad that somebodys standing up to this guy. This guy has been an international punk and bully forever, and he once threatened everybody with his nukes, and its about time somebody stood up to him and said enough is enough, because you know what? Hes been catered to, hes been allowed to exist and proliferate with his nuclear power ability and, quite frankly, it makes the world less safe. So if President Trump wants to be the person thats gonna stand up and do something about it, you know, along with Nikki Haley, and motivating the U.N. to do the right thing, fine by me. Talk about a bigger button, better working, whatever, all day long.
No one denies Kim Jong Un is a monster who gets away with hideous atrocities. But far from feeling omnipotent, Guilfoyle might wish to consider that being unnerved about the stability of his regime is the key reason he armed himself with nukes in the first place. When dictators fear imminent loss of their power, they are at their most dangerous, as Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad graphically illustrate.
Guilfoyle was not the only Fox News host to find Trumps nuclear threats funny. Jesse Watters was similarly entertained.
.@JesseBWatters on @realDonaldTrump's tweet in response to Kim Jong Un & North Korea: "When I read the tweet, I just laughed. I think @POTUS aims to entertain, but he's also aiming to ridicule...[the media] needs to accept @POTUS' style; he's done this for almost 2 years." pic.twitter.com/2TLR6sp6eV
Fox News (@FoxNews) January 4, 2018
When I read the tweet, I just laughed. I think Trump aims to entertain, but hes also aiming to ridicule, just like he did during the election. Lil Marco, Lyin Ted, Crooked Hillary hes an expert brander, and he humiliated Little Rocket Man in front of all his East Asian friends, his little button. And for the media to question Trumps mental stability they, like, worshiped Obama like a cult leader for eight years. Theyre the ones that are mentally unstable. And also, they need to accept Trumps style. Hes done this for almost two years. Stop trying to diagnose him. But this is the reaction to, when you have President Obama. You usually get the opposite of a president. He was, you know, thoughtful, professorial, he led from behind, he never confronted evil. Trump comes out there, hes a street fighter, brawler, very bellicose. And he shoots from the hip, and I think thats what the American people wanted. And when you look back at the results, what did Obamas soft action do? It led this guy to nuke up. Trumps just trying to clean his mess up. I say, whats more dangerous?
Watters might want to check his timeline. North Korea actually first nuked up under George W. Bush.
Nevertheless, he is certainly correct that we usually get presidents who take nuclear war seriously. In fact, every president before Trump was thoughtful and professorial about that issue. Including Ronald Reagan.
But clearly, Watters believes it is OK to threaten global annihilation because Trump is only play-acting which, given the frequency with which he has crafted serious policy based on his tweets, is actually not at all clear.
Unfortunately, Fox seems to be echoing a common sentiment among Trumps supporters, even those in high office. When asked about Trumps outbursts, South Dakota Sen. John Thune the third-highest ranking member of the Republican Senate caucus brushed it off as just Trump being Trump.
And Trumps own aides crack uncomfortable jokes about it as well. One White House staffer told the Daily Beast, Its a running joke [in the West Wing] that nuclear war could start from the private residence during Fox primetime.
Americans need to take the person they put in the White House seriously. Nothing he says or does in office should be presumed a joke. And nothing he says about foreign policy is funny even if it was.