It's a revelation that puts President Donald Trump's 2018 charm offensive with North Korea in a whole new perspective.
Bob Woodward's expose of Trump's lies
to Americans about the coronavirus grabbed the headlines earlier this month. But his new book's glimpse at the period back when Pyongyang was shooting off missiles
is actually more remarkable.
Woodward writes that Mattis slept in his gym clothes so he could spring into action at a second's notice to order an attempt to down a missile headed towards the US, Japan or South Korea. He had a red light in his bathroom that would flash if the balloon went up while he was showering. And he regularly prayed for guidance alone in Washington's National Cathedral. "It was a nonstop crucible, personal and hellish. There were no holidays or weekends off, no dead time," Woodward writes in "Rage," which appears to draw on lengthy conversations with Mattis.
The book reveals that top members of the administration appeared to think a disastrous war with nuclear armed-North Korea was perfectly possible. Kim later told Trump that he'd been ready to fight, the President recalled to Woodward. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly told an associate: "We never knew whether it was real ... or whether it was a bluff."
The account underscores the recklessness of Trump's gamble when he was taunting "Little Rocket Man" -- but may also suggest that his zeal to meet the North Korean despot was about more than a photo-op. Trump now says his friendship with Kim made the world safer. "He's having a good time. ... Nobody's ever seen him smile. Look. Look at him smiling. He's happy," the President told Woodward in 2019 showing off a photo of him with his "very smart" tyrant pal.
So far though, Trump's outreach has done nothing to rid North Korea of its nuclear arms and its missile programs have progressed during his term. Whoever sits in the Oval Office next year, Woodward's alarming discoveries show the unsolved 70-year US-North Korea showdown is as dangerous as ever.
Floods in Florida
While fires rage on America's West Coast, heavy rain and flooding have struck its Gulf Coast. Above, Navarre Beach, Florida, was underwater on Tuesday. Below, some residents of Pensacola, Florida, had to wade through floodwaters to evacuate the area.