The scariest thing about President Donald Trump’s “fire and fury” comments is not just that he said them. It’s the fact that he apparently came up with the phrase off the top of his head.
On Wednesday afternoon, CNN’s Jake Tapper spent several sober minutes at the top of his show The Lead analyzing Trump’s rhetoric about nuclear weapons before, during and after his presidential campaign.
The anchor concluded that the comments fit a “pattern of President Trump speaking more loosely, and in the view of critics, recklessly, about the most devastating weapon known to man.”
Tapper uncovered three recurring themes “that pose significant breaks from the consensus of Western leaders on this issue.”
First off, he wondered if Trump is “expressing confusion as to why the U.S. possesses nuclear weapons if it is not willing to use them,” adding, “There doesn’t appear to be any concept in these statements of the lethality of the weapons, nor the moral, strategic and environmental risks using these weapons might pose.”
Secondly, Tapper said that Trump has regularly held a position “in favor of nuclear proliferation,” something the anchor called a “staggering break from the widespread view that the U.S. should everything it can do to dissuade other countries from pursuing these deadly weapons.”
And finally, Tapper saw “a clear lack of policy depth on this issue, one in inverse proportion to the force with which Mr. Trump expresses his views on nuclear weapons.”
In each case, the CNN anchor had video evidence to back up his damning claims about the president.
“Speaking of ‘fire and fury the world had never seen,’ we should note that it was on this day in 1945 that U.S. forces dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, immediately incinerating 40,000 people,” Tapper said, as footage of the bombing played on screen.
“To state the obvious, this is a time when words should be chosen and measured carefully,” he added. “White House sources tell us that the president spoke extemporaneously when he made that statement about ‘fire and fury.’
“Perhaps now might not be the best time to improvise.”