US President Donald Trump speaks to the media prior to departing on Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, October 25, 2017, as...

Trump’s nuclear-button boasts turn ‘juvenile and frightening’

Donald Trump didn’t actually complete any important tasks yesterday, but he managed to stay surprisingly busy. The Republican president called for criminal investigations into some of his perceived domestic enemies, claimed credit for safe commercial air travel, attacked the New York Times, claimed Hispanic voters love his anti-immigration posturing, and threatened Pakistani and Palestinian officials.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 1/2/18, 9:02 PM ET

Trump compares button size with Kim Jong Un

Rachel Maddow shows Donald Trump inviting a nuclear attack from North Korea by goading Kim Jong Un with thinly veiled sneers about the size of his penis.
But the piece de resistance came in response to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un’s New Year’s boast that it’s “not a mere threat but a reality that I have a nuclear button on the desk in my office.” To which the American president responded with his version of strategic nuclear dialogue with a rogue nation.

“Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button,” Trump wrote, “but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

As Rachel noted on last night’s show, the American president was effectively daring the leader of nuclear-armed North Korea “to prove that his button works.” What could possibly go wrong?

This paragraph in the New York Times’ report seemed to capture the true absurdity of life in Trump’s America.

The president’s tone also generated a mix of scorn and alarm among lawmakers, diplomats and national security experts who called it juvenile and frightening for a president handling a foreign policy challenge with world-wrecking consequences. The language was reminiscent of Mr. Trump’s boast during the 2016 presidential campaign that his hands, and by extension his genitals, were in fact big enough.

In late December 2016, for reasons that weren’t at all clear, Donald Trump rattled much of the world with an alarmingly ambiguous tweet about nuclear weapons and an expansion of the U.S. arsenal. A day later, the then-president-elect reportedly said he’s prepared for a new international nuclear “arms race.”

At the time, experts raised public fears that the amateur president, a little too fond of casual nuclear threats, might create a nuclear confrontation.

Once in the Oval Office, Trump continued to struggle with the issue, flunking the basics of nuclear modernization and missile defense, even while threatening to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea.

Last night, the American president’s recklessness took a rather terrifying turn.

Donald Trump, North Korea, Nuclear and Nuclear Policy

Trump's nuclear-button boasts turn 'juvenile and frightening'