New year, same president. Donald Trump is once again using his Twitter account to mock North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. On January 2nd, Trump took to the social media network to brag that he has a bigger nuclear button than Kim’s.
Trump’s tweet was a response to the speech Kim made on New Year’s Day, in which the North Korean leader boasted that he had a nuclear button on his desk. In the same address, Kim said that the North Korean nuclear arsenal was complete, warning the U.S. that the entire country was within striking distance.
In his speech, Kim also indicated his willingness to make peace with South Korea, after decades of hostility between the two nations. Trump addressed this gesture on Twitter on the morning of January 2nd, prior to his button comment, saying that sanctions imposed on North Korea had caused Kim’s change of heart and that it was perhaps “good news, perhaps not.”
It’s worth noting that Trump does not have access to a physical button that can launch a nuclear strike — that’s a complex process that would require Department of Defense approval. And even if a nuclear button did exist, size wouldn’t matter. (A concept that is likely difficult for Trump to understand.)
Trump attacking Kim on Twitter is nothing new. The president is famously fond of using the epithet “Rocket Man” to refer to the North Korean leader. And in August, he threatened Kim’s country with “fire and fury.” But while Trump’s latest tweet isn’t that surprising, social media should not be a platform to make nuclear threats. Let’s hope that in 2018, the president learns to handle international policy offline.