Tags: North Korea | james clapper | donald trump | north korea | cool it

Clapper: Trump Should 'Cool It' With His NKorea Rhetoric

(CNN/YouTube)

By    |   Wednesday, 27 September 2017 02:40 PM

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Wednesday President Donald Trump should "cool it" with some of the heated rhetoric he's been using against North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un.

"What concerns me is this rhetorical gun battle that's going on right now," Clapper, who served under President Barack Obama, told CNN's "New Day" program, noting that even though the Trump administration has said his words don't constitute a declaration of war, "it's not important what we think."

"It is what the North Koreans perceive," Clapper said.

The former DNI said that if he were Trump, he'd "try to cool it" with his words.

"I really like what [Defense Secretary James] Mattis did about a half a dozen missile tests ago, when he said 'we know North Korea launched a missile, and we have no further comment,'" Clapper said. "That would drive the North Koreans crazy."

But Trump's rhetoric "plays to their craving for attention," Clapper said, and Kim has to be "eating this up when the president of the United States is engaging directly with him in the manner in which he's doing it."

Trump does have several "superb advisers," including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Chief of Staff John Kelly around him, while Kim does not have moderate advisers.

"They have these generals with their notebooks and they are dutifully taking notes," Clapper said. "What concerns me here is nobody will know what will set off Kim Jong Un's fuse, and the things we utter,  I think sometimes the president comes out with, I wonder how much thought is given to that."

Clapper said he visited North Korea in 2014, and observed that in addition to being the nation's leader, Kim is considered a deity.

"His father Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, the founder of the DPRK, the whole family line is considered deity," Clapper said. "To the extent there is any religious in North Korea, it's them. So when we're casting these nets of condemnation on the head of state, well, he's also a deity. The North Korean regime uses that for domestic consumption."

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Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Wednesday President Donald Trump should "cool it" with some of the heated rhetoric he's been using against North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un.
james clapper, donald trump, north korea, cool it
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2017-40-27
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 02:40 PM
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