BEDMINSTER, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Donald Trump responded to critics of his “fire and fury” comments directed at North Korea Thursday by saying he should have used even stronger wording.
“For people who are questioning that statement — was it too tough?” Trump said as he addressed reporters at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club. “Maybe it wasn’t tough enough.”
As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported, Trump doubled down on his warning to North Korea after the country called his “fire and fury” comments a “load of nonsense.”
He said North Korea “better get their act together or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble.”
He was asked what would be tougher than the threat.
“What would be tougher than ‘fire and fury?’ Well you’ll see, you’ll see,” Trump said.
North Korea seems eager to show the U.S. what it can do. The communist regime’s military said it will be ready by mid-month to launch four missiles simultaneously.
The missiles would fly over Japan and land in the waters off the U.S. territory of Guam if dictator Kim Jong Un gave approval.
“If North Korea does anything in terms of even thinking about attack of anybody that we love or we represent or our allies or us, they can be very, very nervous and they should be very nervous,” Trump said.
“He does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody has seen before — what will happen in North Korea,” he added.
Guam hosts about 7,000 military personnel on two bases. Guam Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo estimates chances of a strike at 1 million to one. But Homeland Security officials have still told residents to have a plan in place just in case.
“I’m not really nervous — I’m pretty confident in our military capability,” one resident said.
“What is the president doing to protect us?” another said. “I blame him.”
The general in charge of the North Korean missile force said “sound dialogue is not possible” with President Trump and “only absolute force can work on him.”
As for whether the U.S. would return to talks with North Korea, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: “The secretary has talked about this a lot. He has said he’s not going to negotiate his way back to the negotiating table. We would need to know that North Korea is taking serious and literal steps to denuclearizing in order for the United States to get to that point.”
On Wednesday, Defense Secretary James Mattis warned further action by North Korea could lead to the end of the regime and the destruction of its people.
Japan, which is one of America’s closest Asian allies, responded to the threat from North Korea to say any attack on US citizens would threaten its own existence and says it will shoot down North Korean missiles flying over Japanese airspace.
Trump also took aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the failed health care vote Thursday.
“I’m very disappointed in Mitch,” he said.
Earlier this week, McConnell portrayed the president as an amateur who set counter-productive deadlines, Gainer reported.
“Now our new president has of course not been in this line of work before, and I think had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process,” he said.
Trump also repeated his denial of any collusion with Russian in the 2016 election and dismissed rumors he plans to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Additionally, he reacted for the first time to the FBI raid on the home of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
“I thought it was a very, very strong signal or whatever. They do that very seldom,” he said. “So I was surprised to see it.”
The president also commented on his ban on transgender service members, saying it has been a complicated issue and he thinks he’s “doing the military a great favor.”
Meanwhile, more than 60 members of Congress have signed a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressing their concern over what they call the president’s irresponsible and dangerous statements directed at North Korea. They are urging caution and restraint.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)