Brace yourselves, because North Korea is pulling out the big guns: They might start calling President Trump a “dotard” again.
Trump dusted off his “Rocket Man” moniker for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un this week, and the supreme leader doesn’t seem pleased. A North Korean official said Thursday that they would return fire with their own harsh language ― like dotard, as in someone old and mentally declining ― if Trump didn’t cut it out.
“If any language and expressions stoking the atmosphere of confrontation are used once again on purpose at a crucial moment as now, that must really be diagnosed as the relapse of the dotage of a dotard,” warned Choe Son Hui, North Korea’s vice foreign minister, via state media.
The exchange is effectively a derivative sequel to the 2017 spat between Trump and Kim, where the two launched a war of words ― chiefly “Rocket Man” and “dotard” ― as nuclear negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea floundered.
Trump revisited his Elton John-inspired insult Tuesday at the NATO summit in London, when he was calling on Kim to denuclearize. It’s been a tense few days: North Korea has ratcheted up its rhetoric ahead of Kim’s end-of-year deadline to reach a nuclear deal with the U.S.
Trump did mention he had a good relationship with Kim, but also added Kim “likes sending rockets up” and “that’s why I call him Rocket Man.”
And then there was the threat of military action.
“We have the most powerful military we ever had, and we are by far the most powerful country in the world, and hopefully we don’t have to use it,” Trump said. “But if we do, we will use it.”
North Korean officials claimed folks are just seething that Trump would dare insult Kim. The comments “prompted the waves of hatred of our people against the U.S.” because they displayed “no courtesy when referring to the supreme leadership of dignity,” Choe said.
“If this is meant to make expressions, reminiscent of those days just two years ago when a war of words was fought across the ocean, surface again on purpose, it will be a very dangerous challenge,” Choe said.
With Trump firing off insulting nicknames and North Korea putting “dotard” back on the table, it would seem a brief love affair is officially on the rocks. In September 2018, Trump was cooing over the special relationship he'd developed with the North Korean dictator, who imprisons and executes his perceived political enemies.
“He wrote me beautiful letters, and they’re great letters,” Trump said at a West Virginia rally at the time. “We fell in love.”
Cover: In this undated photo provided on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un rides a white horse to climb Mount Paektu, North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)