Fierce Backlash After Trump Taunts North Korea Over “Bigger” Nuclear Button

Ridicule—some in the form of Viagra jokes—abound.

Bruce R. Bennett/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

President Donald Trump drew swift condemnation Tuesday evening after he insulted North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un with a less than presidential tweet bragging about America’s stronger nuclear capabilities. 

Trump’s reference to having access to a “nuclear button”—one he insisted was larger and “more powerful” than Kim’s button—also prompted ridicule, some of which came in the form of jokes about male-enhancing drugs. (By the way, no such button exists.) Others pointed to Trump’s history of being overly concerned with size—from crowd numbers to the dimensions of his hands—and the dangers of having such an obsession drive foreign policy as tensions worsen between the two countries.

In his annual New Year’s address, Kim warned the US against further provoking North Korea into nuclear war, but he also appeared newly open to engaging in diplomatic talks with South Korea. South Korea quickly responded with a proposal to hold meetings at the border as soon as next week, with South Korea’s unification minister emphasizing that the country was willing to hold talks aimed at peace with North Korea “at any time and place, and in any form.”

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley offered a starkly different reaction to North Korea’s surprising overture. “North Korea can talk with anyone they want but the US is not going to recognize it or acknowledge it until they agree to ban the nuclear weapons that they have,” she said.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend