Gates: Trump’s tweets, tough talk got North Korea’s attention

Gates: Trump’s tweets, tough talk got North Korea’s attention

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in an interview aired Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE's tweets and tough rhetoric caught the attention of North Korea. 

"I think the president's tough talk and the willingness of the Chinese and the Russians to agree to the toughest sanctions we've ever really applied to North Korea certainly increased the pressure on the North Koreans to come to the table," Gates told CBS's Margaret Brennan on "Face the Nation" ahead of a planned summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "So, I think that's an important piece of it."

ADVERTISEMENT
Gates also focused on the president's "unpredictability." 

"I think that the unpredictability in terms of some of the tweets and some of the tough talk did get the attention of the North Koreans and the Chinese as well -- in terms of fire and fury and so on," he said. 

"You know, my view is generally that tactical unpredictability is good and as an asset; strategic unpredictability is probably not a good idea for a great power." 

The president has aimed to keep the North Koreans off-balance ahead of the summit, planned for June 12 in Singapore, saying that he could call it off if Pyongyang takes any steps toward ramping up nuclear activity. 

“Everything can be scuttled. Lots of things can happen. A lot of good things can happen, a lot of bad things can happen. I believe that we have — both sides want to negotiate a deal,” he told reporters last week. 

Kim, who has famously clashed with the U.S. over the issue of nuclear weapons, has reportedly expressed his willingness to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.