President Donald Trump assured supporters in Alabama on Friday that "you are protected" from North Korea after threats to test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean, and again slammed dictator Kim Jong Un — this time as "Little Rocket Man."
"Nobody is going to mess with our people," Trump told a rally for Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange at the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, Alabama. "Nobody is going to play games.
"Nobody is going to put our people in that kind of danger," the president said. "Nobody."
In the escalated rhetoric between Trump and Kim, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters earlier Friday that Pyongyang would respond to any U.S. attack by unleashing what "could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific."
Trump also slammed Kim on Twitter Friday as "a madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people," while the dictator said earlier that he would "surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire."
"We can't have mad men out there shooting rockets all over the place," Trump told the cheering crowd. "Rocket Man should have been handled a long time ago.
"But I'm going to handle it because we have to handle it," Trump said. "Little Rocket Man, we are going to do it."
He noted that Kim now "is watching us like he never watched anybody before.
"Maybe something gets worked out, and maybe it doesn't," the president said. "Personally, I'm not sure that it will.
"But we are dealing with somebody that we'll figure out.
"He may be smart. He may be strategic — and he may be totally crazy.
"No matter what he is, we are going to handle it," Trump said.
The president came to Alabama to rally for Strange, whom he has endorsed over former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore in the Sept. 26 runoff election for the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Strange, who was appointed to the Senate in February, was forced into the tight race against Moore despite Trump's backing and millions in advertising dollars from allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Moore is backed by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon — and he led Strange by more than 25,000 votes in the August primary.
Trump said he endorsed Strange because he supported the July Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, which died on an early-morning vote cast by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.
"Luther did that for me, and I remembered Luther," Trump said. "We have to be loyal in life.
"There is something called loyalty."
He praised both Strange and Moore as "good men" and said that he would support whoever won the runoff.
"I told Luther, if his opponent wins, I'm going to be here campaigning like hell for him," Trump said. "You've got to beat a Democrat.
"Luther is going to win easily — and Roy is going to have a hard time winning," he added. "But I will be backing him if he wins."
Trump said that Strange also has the endorsement of Vice President Mike Pence and supports much of his agenda, including pulling out of the Paris climate accord and cracking down on sanctuary cities.
"With Luther, you don't just send a message to Washington, you send a fighter to change Washington the way we all know it can be."
Trump also slammed McCain for his July healthcare vote after the senator said earlier Friday that he would not support the latest Republican attempt to end the Affordable Care Act.
"It's a little tougher without McCain's vote, I will be honest," he told the crowd. "It's a little tougher, but we've got some time.
"We might have to go back again and again. We may make it this time.
"The most we will be is one or two votes short," Trump said. "You can't quit when you are one or two votes short.
"You can't do it."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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