While most people were busy enjoying their Sundays, Donald Trump and one of his deputies were busy tweeting glaringly false and misleading information about North Korea — and publicly humiliating his own secretary of state for good measure.
At around 3 pm, the president tweeted that three previous administrations had tried and failed at talking to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The problem is that Kim has only been in power since 2011, making that impossible:
Being nice to Rocket Man hasn't worked in 25 years, why would it work now? Clinton failed, Bush failed, and Obama failed. I won't fail.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2017
Kim is 33. When the Clinton administration started, "Rocket Man" was 9 years old — which I suppose would make negotiating with him ineffective.
At around the same time on Sunday, Heather Nauert — the former Fox & Friends anchor currently serving as State Department spokesperson — tweeted something implying North Korea doesn’t yet have nukes:
North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests and possesses up to 60 nuclear devices, per the Defense Intelligence Agency — meaning it of course already has "obtained a nuclear capability.” It’s possible Nauert meant that North Korea will not be allowed a capability to hit the US mainland, but it likely has that too. The North’s long-range missiles are theoretically capable of traveling as far as Washington and New York.
This may seem a little petty. But in a high-level standoff, precision of language matters.
Think about it for a second: This is the president of the United States and his chosen representative for communicating US foreign policy. This kind of sloppiness would be inexcusable in a college freshman; it's genuinely jarring coming from the people running the US government.