Trump Almost Sent a Tweet That Could Have Signaled War With North Korea

Bob Woodward reveals just how close the president came to a major provocation.

The Straits Times/ZUMA

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Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear: Trump in the White House, is filled with alarming details about chaos in Trump’s White House, but perhaps no incident illustrates the president’s recklessness better than the time he drafted a tweet saying, “We are going to pull out dependents from South Korea…Family members of the 28,000 people there.”

The president drafted the message at the height of his standoff with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whom he had derided and provoked as “Little Rocket Man.” It immediately raised alarms in the Pentagon, and the administration got a back-channel message from North Korea that it would regard the tweet as a sign that an attack was looming.

“At that moment there was a sense of profound alarm in the Pentagon leadership that, ‘My God, one tweet and we have reliable information that the North Koreans are going to read this as an attack is imminent,'” Woodward told CBS in an interview on Sunday.

Trump’s bizarre back-and-forth with the North Korean leader has cooled of late, but there’s no comfort in knowing that the United States is one tweet away from nuclear war.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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