Perhaps its because President Trump took particular offense at being called “old” that North Korea unleashed a new insult against him Tuesday. It called him — no surprise — “an old lunatic, mean trickster and human reject.”
It was the latest jab in a personal slugfest between world leaders that has no precedent. Since he became president, Trump has lashed out at North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, referring to him as “little rocket man,” “short and fat,” a “madman” and threatened to wipe Kim and his country off the face of the earth if they attack the United States or its allies.
Kim and his propaganda arm have responded in kind, calling Trump a “mentally deranged dotard (senile person),” saying he should be “executed,” and vowing to annihilate the U.S. if it attacks North Korea.
Behind the over-the-top rhetoric is a deadly serious dispute over Kim’s development of nuclear weapons capable of striking the U.S. mainland. Trump is determined to thwart Kim’s nuclear ambitions and the North Korean leader appears equally determined to keep his nuclear arsenal to deter a U.S. attempt to overthrow him.
‘Short and Fat’
Last week, Pyongyang’s state media slammed Trump for insulting Kim while on a five country tour of Asia. It said the American president, who Kim has feuded with for months, deserves the death penalty.
“The worst crime for which (Trump) can never be pardoned is that he dared (to) malignantly hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership. He should know that he is just a hideous criminal sentenced to death by the Korean people,” it said.
The comments were published in an editorial in the Rodong Sinmun newspaper, a mouthpiece for Kim’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
Trump clapped back by indirectly calling Kim “short and fat” in a tweet.
“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me “old,” when I would NEVER call him “short and fat?” Trump tweeted. “Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!”
Among the most bizarre insults perhaps: Kim called Trump a “mentally deranged dotard (senile person)” in September and threatened to “tame (Trump) with fire” for threatening in a speech at the United Nations to “totally destroy” the rogue nation. Trump called Kim a “madman.”
When North Korea launched a missile over Japan and claimed they had tested a miniaturized hydrogen bomb, Trump’s new nickname for Kim became “Rocket Man.”
“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,” Trump said in a major address to the United Nations on Sept. 23. “Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”
‘Fire and Fury’
After sanctions against North Korea were in place, the rhetoric heated up, with North Korea saying in a statement on Aug. 7: “The U.S.’ villainous illegal actions against our country and people will be reciprocated by thousands-fold. If it thinks that it will be safe because it is across an ocean, there is no bigger misunderstanding than that.”
The country then threatened the U.S. territory of Guam, leading Trump to lash out.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” he said on Aug. 8. Kim “has been very threatening beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
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