Years before he was sending ominous warnings to North Korea over its ballistic missile tests and blaming America’s allies for not controlling the hermit kingdom’s activities, President Donald Trump was actually in favor of negotiating with the country.
After the commander-in-chief threatened Kim Jong-un’s regime with “fire and fury” if it made “more threats to the United States,” Pyongyang claimed it was considering a missile strike on Guam, a U.S. territory home to a military base that includes a submarine squadron, an airbase and a Coast Guard group.
Trump's harsh words came after U.S. intelligence assessed the country had successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead.
However, it looks like Trump used to sing a different tune back in the day.
NBC’s “Meet the Press” recently shared a vintage 1999 Trump video that shows the business mogul explaining his approach to North Korea and his thoughts on pre-emptive strike.
“First, I’d negotiate,” Trump told host Tim Russert at the time. “I would negotiate like crazy and I’d make sure that we tried to get the best deal possible.”
In a typical Trump fashion, he also compared the international conflict to a robbery.
“If a man walks up to you in the street…and puts a gun to your head and says, ‘Give me your money,’ wouldn’t you rather know where he’s coming from before he had the gun in his hand?” Trump asked.
His seeming levelheaded approach in this interview stands in direct contrast to his recent blunt remarks.
Back then, he did say he would be in favor of bombing North Korea if elected president. The only difference was that he insisted on getting things done in a boardroom instead of the battlefield.
“Wouldn’t it be good to sit down and really negotiate something?” the president asked. “Now, if that negotiation doesn’t work, you better solve the problem now than solve it later.”
As far as pre-emptive strike was concerned, Trump said he would be open to taking military action should negotiations fall through.
“You wanna do it in five years, when they have warheads all over the place?” Trump said. “Every one of them pointing to New York City, to Washington — is that when you wanna do it? Or do you want to do it now?”
He also spoke out about nuclear proliferation.
“The biggest problem this world has is nuclear proliferation and we have a country out there, North Korea, which is sort of wacko, which is not a bunch of dummies, and they are going out and they are developing nuclear weapons — and they’re not doing it because they’re having fun doing it, they’re doing it for a reason,” he said.
Watch the interview in the video above.
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Jim Young