Mattis calls reports he contradicted Trump on North Korea 'ludicrous'

Mattis calls reports he contradicted Trump on North Korea 'ludicrous'
© Getty Images

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Mattis dismisses talk he may be leaving | Polish president floats 'Fort Trump' | Dem bill would ban low-yield nukes Mattis dismisses reports of his exit: 'I love it here' Publisher says Woodward book sales largest in its history MORE on Thursday called it “ludicrous” that some took his recent comments on North Korea as contradicting President Trump.

Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that the United States “has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!" 

ADVERTISEMENT

Mattis replied when asked later that the United States is “never out of diplomatic solutions.”

Mattis was speaking to reporters prior to meeting with South Korea's defense minister at the Pentagon and was asked about the commander in chief’s comments and whether they ruled out a diplomatic solution to North Korea's ongoing missile tests.

“I was asked if there were any diplomatic efforts left, and I said, ‘of course,’ " Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday. “Diplomatic can include economic sanctions, United Nations, not just talking — it didn't contradict anything the president said. We're not talking to the North Koreans right now.”

When a reporter pressed that the remark was "widely interpreted" as contradicting Trump, Mattis replied, "It was widely misinterpreted then."

He added, "I can't help people who misinterpret things. I'll do my best to call it like I see it, but right now if I say ‘six’ and the president says ‘half-a-dozen,’ they're gonna say I disagree with him."