Trump Doubles Down on ‘Fire and Fury’ Comment: ‘Maybe It Wasn’t Tough Enough’

President Donald Trump speaks before a

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump defended his heated rhetoric toward North Korea, telling reporters that his threat to unleash “fire and fury” may not have been “tough enough.”

“If anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough,” Trump said from Bedminster, N.J., where he has been on a 17-day trip at his Trump National Golf Course. “And we’re backed 100 percent by our military, we’re backed by everybody and we’re backed by many other leaders. And I noticed that many senators and others came out today very much in favor of what I said. But if anything that statement may not be tough enough.”

Trump earlier this week said that if North Korea did not stop threatening the United States, “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

He didn’t repeat that comment, but said that “if North Korea does anything in terms of even thinking about an attack of anybody that we love or we represent or our allies or us, they can be very, very nervous.” he said that they should “be very nervous. Because things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK? He’s been pushing the world around for a long time.”

Trump defended the tone of his remarks in the past few days. He said, “It’s about time someone stood up for the people of our country and the people of other countries.”

Trump’s comments set off a new round of back-and-forth rhetoric about the situation on the Korean peninsula, as the regime of Kim Jong-un said that it was working on a plan to strike near Guam, a U.S. territory, by mid-August. The country has been developing a long-range missile program, along with nuclear capabilities. The Washington Post reported earlier this week that the regime has developed the capability to miniaturize a nuclear weapon on a warhead.

Still, Trump said that “the people of this country should be very comfortable.”

Asked if the administration is considering a preemptive strike, he said, “We don’t talk about that. I never do.”

Trump also criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for not getting repeal and replace legislation passed in Congress.

Trump was asked whether McConnell should step down. He said if McConnell is unable to get a host of GOP priorities done, like healthcare and tax reform, “Then you can ask me that question.”

He said that he told McConnell, “Get to work and get this done.”