President Donald Trump tweets another taunting message towards the leader of North Korea, this time alarming lawmakers with the talk of nuclear weapons.
- President Donald Trump does not have actual nuclear button
- There is a complex process for president to launch nuclear strike
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
Trump was responding to Kim Jong Un's New Year's Day address saying the nuclear button is always on his desk and the entire U.S. is in range.
In reality, Trump does not have an actual nuclear button to push.
The process for launching a nuclear strike is secret and complex and involves the use of a nuclear "football," which is carried by a rotating group of military officers everywhere the president goes and is equipped with communication tools and a book with prepared war plans.
If the president were to order a strike, he would identify himself to military officials at the Pentagon with codes unique to him. Those codes are recorded on a card known as the “biscuit” that is carried by the president at all times. He would then transmit the launch order to the Pentagon and Strategic Command.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump sounded open to the possibility of an inter-Korean dialogue after Kim made a rare overture toward South Korea in a New Year’s address. But Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations insisted talks would not be meaningful unless the North was getting rid of its nuclear weapons.
And the president's reaction is getting a lot of criticism.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper commented on the tweets saying:
"When we're casually back and forth through by whatever means kind of dueling banjo who has the greatest the bigger a male appendage it's also also almost a manhood thing, when there are potentially millions of lives at stake and untold death and destruction here," Clapper said.
Democrats were upset with what Trump did. U.S. Representative Val Demings also voiced her concern about the president's tweet:
This is dangerous and reckless. The most deadly weapons in human history aren’t a topic for grandstanding and vanity. https://t.co/qWg6dgot1T— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) January 3, 2018
Massachusetts's U.S. Sen. Ed Markey stated that Trump's tweet borders presidential "malpractice" and added:
Imagine being a servicemember or the family of a servicemember stationed in Korea and reading this. This borders on presidential malpractice. https://t.co/rII95iu0Vm— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) January 3, 2018
The Associated Press contributed to this story.