Once again, Trump is hinting at world war.
On Friday, Trump spoke at a rare joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and when asked what he would do if his proposed North Korean sanctions fail, his response was truly alarming.
"We'll have to see," said Trump. "If the sanctions don't work, we'll have to go Phase Two. Phase Two may be a very rough thing, may be very, very unfortunate for the world."
Trump: "If the sanctions (on North Korea) don't work, we'll have to go Phase 2. Phase 2 may be a very rough thing, may be very, very unfortunate for the world" https://t.co/hGaihb7YLa
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 23, 2018
Trump seemed to be arguing, in his vague way, that he was thinking about a military strike on a nuclear power and a multilateral global conflict — something he has been flippant about in the past.
This is a horrifying comment, and it comes at the end of another week that, by most accounts, was an abject disaster for Trump.
For starters, he had to deal with the continuing activism and anger following the Parkland school shooting and his own insensitive reponse. The position he has staked out to arm teachers rather than deal with guns is bitterly unpopular.
Then, Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pled guilty in the Special Counsel investigation as Robert Mueller pursues 32 new charges against campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Even if Trump was not privy to their wrongdoing, his judgment in hiring them in the first place was fantastically incompetent, and looking worse and worse as the charges rack up.
Trump has previously played with the media about the idea he might wage war. But he will not be able to use this strategy to hide from every terrible week. He's visibly imploding, but his threats only make things worse for him.