Donald Trump tweeted about the size of his nuclear button in comparison to that of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un with heavy criticism, but the White House supported him, saying Americans should be concerned about the North Korean leader’s mental fitness, not their president‘s.

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On Tuesday, Trump responded to a New Year’s Day speech in which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned he had a nuclear button on his desk by saying that his nuclear button “is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

The tweet provoked strong criticism, especially from Trump’s Democratic opponents, and former Vice President Joe Biden called it “dangerously cavalier”. Asked whether Americans should be concerned about the president’s mental fitness after he appeared to be speaking so lightly about nuclear threats, White House spokeswoman Sara Sanders told a regular news briefing:


”The president and the people of this country should be concerned about the mental fitness of the leader of North Korea.

“He’s made repeated threats, he’s tested missiles time and time again for years, and this is a president who’s not going to cower down and who’s not going to be weak and is going to make sure that he does what he’s promised to do and that is stand up and protect the American people.”

Trump and Kim have exchanged repeated insults in recent months in a crisis over North Korea’s program to develop nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching the United States, raising alarm worldwide. Trump has at times appeared to dismiss the prospect of a diplomatic solution and both sides have threatened to destroy each other.

In his New Year speech, Kim warned that the entire United States was in range of North Korea nuclear missiles and added: “A nuclear button is always on my desk. This is reality, not a threat.”

Kim said his country would focus in the coming year on mass producing nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles for operational deployment, but added that these would be used only if North Korea’s security was threatened.