Trump wanted to draw harder line on North Korea in speech: report

Trump wanted to draw harder line on North Korea in speech: report
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President Trump initially wanted to take a stronger stance against North Korea in a speech delivered in South Korea this week, but was talked out of it by advisers, according to a report Friday.

A top U.S. official told NBC News that Trump wanted to project strength in his speech at the National Assembly in Seoul on Wednesday that China, North Korea and Russia could not ignore.


“The president doesn’t want war,” the official said. “But he wants to show strength. It’s about projecting power, to send a message to the region that the U.S. backs its allies, and stands up to threats in a way that’s unlike previous administrations.”

The official would not specify what exactly was "toned down" in the speech. The source also told NBC that White House aides failed to convince Trump to drop references to golf from his speech.

Trump was criticized by many, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, for mentioning his New Jersey golf course during the speech.

“The women's U.S. Open was held this year at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and it just happened to be won by a great Korean golfer, Sung Hyun Park, and eight of the top 10 players were from Korea," Trump said.

During the speech, Trump also spoke about South Korea's cultural achievements, and issued a warning to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"This is a very different administration than the United States has had in the past," Trump said. "Today I hope I speak not only for our countries, but for all civilized nations when I say to the North: Do not underestimate us. And do not try us."

Trump has issued stronger declarations against North Korea in the past, including during his inaugural speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September.

"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime," Trump said during the speech in New York.