After the Trump administration made the highly unusual move of inviting the entire Senate to the White House for a briefing on North Korea, it seems the president did not have much to say. His administration, however, is sending the message that it is preparing for military action.
After the highly unusual move of inviting the entire Senate to the White House for a national security briefing on North Korea, Donald Trump spent all of 14 minutes with the senators, according to several White House reporters.
A senior administration official then told reporters, "What you will see soon is using the economic dimension of national power, as well as the military preparation that are underway." According to the official, Trump is considering a "broad range of options."
Donald Trump and his administration have made a series of alarming comments about the United States' already strained relationship with North Korea. Trump campaigned as a bombastic, chest-thumping tough guy who casually "joked" about "bombing the sh*t" out of countries and even suggested he would be willing to deploy nuclear weapons. During his brief time in office thus far, he has done nothing to assuage fears about his eagerness to demonstrate the nation's military might, already launching an attack on Syria and dropping a so-called Mother of All Bombs in Afghanistan.
At this point, is impossible to know what Trump might have said during those 14 minutes with senators. Given the steady stream of mixed messaging from the administration, it is unclear what Trump's intentions are with regard to North Korea. We do know that his meeting lasted 4 minutes longer than the 10 minutes he said it took him to learn that "it's not so easy" to understand North Korea and its relationship with China.
For a president who, by his own admission, required a history lesson from Chinese President Xi Jinping to understand the complicated history of the region, Trump's brief meeting and his administration's comments that we are now preparing for military action is anything but reassuring.