12 August, 2017
Starting on Wednesday night, the Republican president retweeted a series of Twitter posts related to his Democratic predecessor, starting with one by John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations and Fox News contributor, who said the United States is at risk because of Obama. "Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!"
En route home from a trip to Asia, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson assured Americans not to worry. "It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before", Trump tweeted. And the modernization effort that started under former President Barack Obama hasn't been altered by the Trump administration.
While Reif says that the United States now possesses a nuclear arsenal that's more than adequate for defense needs-boasting some 4,000 nuclear warheads, close to half of which are now deployed at various bases-it's also not true that the arsenal is "stronger and more powerful than ever before".
The statement is a direct response to bipartisan criticism of the ultimatum Trump issued to North Korea on Tuesday.
In fact, Tillerson had been asked on Wednesday about the diplomatic implications of Trump's threats to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea, not about any military aspect of that foreign policy challenge.
Trump retweeted news coverage about his heated rhetoric Wednesday.
The North is threatening the United States with the prospect of a nuclear-armed long-range missile, and Sen. "He's going to stop the threat".
While the President has threatened "fire and fury", and on Thursday added that his comments perhaps hadn't been tough enough, Tillerson has repeatedly said his interest is in applying "peaceful pressure" to get Pyongyang to agree to talks.
President Donald Trump is retweeting news coverage about his heated rhetoric against North Korea, even as his secretary of state is downplaying Trump's words. "Let's never forget that", Bolton said in the tweet that Trump retweeted. More importantly, though, he said that in the event attempts to negotiate were unsuccessful, the US would have to "do something" about North Korea, a clear allusion to pre-emptive military action.