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Trump discussed striking North Korea with nuclear weapon, and blaming another country, book reveals

Then-US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un stand on North Korean soil while walking to South Korea in the Demilitarized Zone on June 30, 2019, in Panmunjom, Korea. (AFP file photo)

Former US President Donald Trump discussed the idea of striking North Korea with a nuclear weapon and blaming the attack on another country, a book has revealed.

According to new excerpts of the book by New York Times journalist Michael Schmidt, “Donald Trump v. the United States,” then-White House chief of staff John Kelly was concerned by Trump’s rhetoric against North Korea on Twitter and in his private talks.

“What scared Kelly even more than the tweets was the fact that behind closed doors in the Oval Office, Trump continued to talk as if he wanted to go to war. He cavalierly discussed the idea of using a nuclear weapon against North Korea, saying that if he took such an action, the administration could blame someone else for it to absolve itself of responsibility,” Schmidt wrote in the book, which was first published in 2020, and is set to be released next week in paperback with the new afterword included.

Kelly reportedly attempted to persuade against Trump from the idea, saying the United States would likely be found out if it went through with such a plan and the attack would cause consequences and casualties. 

But, according to Schmidt, Trump seemed dogged by the idea of an attack and further raised “the possibility of launching a preemptive military attack against North Korea.”

During his tenure in the White House, Trump both threatened and praised North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying at one point that he fell in “fell in love” with him.

“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!” Trump tweeted back in 2018.

A historic summit was held between Trump and Kim on June 12, 2018 to launch denuclearization talks between the two countries after months of military threats.

A second summit was held in June 2019 when Trump became the first sitting US president to set foot in North Korea.

Trump met Kim in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas and agreed to resume stalled nuclear talks.

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