Donald Trump Nearly Declared War With North Korea On Twitter Before Defense Secretary Begged Him To Reconsider

Michael Reynolds-PoolGetty Images

Donald Trump nearly declared war on North Korea through a tweet, but his defense secretary was able to beg him to reconsider, a new book claims.

The incident is recounted in a new book from journalist Bob Woodward, who claims that Trump prepared a tweet claiming that the conflict with North Korea would end up boiling down to a personal conflict with Kim Jong-Un. As the Express reported, the tweet also would have ordered the family members of 28,500 troops in South Korea to leave the country.

“This is all about leader versus leader,” the tweet reportedly read. “Man versus man. Me versus Kim.”

The announcement would have been seen as an act of war, the report noted, and could have prompted a strike from North Korea. As the report noted, it took quite a bit of convincing for Trump not to hit “send” on the tweet.

But the idea didn’t go away. The book claims that even after deleting the tweet, Trump raised the idea of evacuating military families from South Korea with Senator Lindsey Graham, who also told Trump that it was a dangerous idea.

The tension with North Korea lessened after the near-disaster, and Trump ended up meeting with Kim later in the year. North Korea offered a pledge to denuclearize, though experts say the agreement forged with the United States contains no firm commitments or timeline for this to take place.

Still, Donald Trump has characterized his approach with North Korea as a success. On Sunday, he tweeted an account from Fox News praising his work in securing the pledge.

“This is a big and very positive statement from North Korea,” Donald Trump said in reference to North Korea holding a military parade without the customary display of nuclear weapons. “Thank you To Chairman Kim. We will both prove everyone wrong! There is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other! Much better than before I took office.”

The decision not to include the weapons in the parade is seen as a move to placate Donald Trump and continue decreasing the tension between the nations that had existed before, an analyst told the New York Times.

But the relationship between North Korea and the United States remains rocky, and earlier this year, Donald Trump announced that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would not be going to North Korea, citing a lack of progress on denuclearization.