President Trump Threatens to ‘Totally Destroy’ North Korea in U.N. Speech

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Trump on Tuesday. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday morning, President Trump said that if “forced to defend itself or our allies,” the United States “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

Using his new, Elton John–themed nickname for Kim Jong-un, Trump said that “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”

“The United States is ready, willing, and able,” he continued. “But hopefully, this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about. That’s what the United Nations is for.”

North Korea and its nuclear program, Trump said, “threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of life.” He warned that “if the righteous many don’t confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph.”

Loud murmurs filled the hall after Trump’s “totally destroy” comment, Reuters reports. North Korea’s ambassador had left his seat before Trump arrived.

During his remarks, which were a stark contrast to the mild address he gave on Monday, Trump also bashed the Iran nuclear deal, calling it an “embarrassment,” and saying, “I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me.”

He labeled Iran a “rogue nation,” accused it of sponsoring terrorism, and said that “it is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction.”

Trump has long railed against the nuclear agreement put into place by President Obama, though it is still unclear whether he intends to end it.

The president referred to “loser terrorists,” who want to “tear up our nation or tear up the entire world.” And he said the world must fight against “radical Islamic terrorism,” a phrase that H.R. McMaster, his national security adviser, had pushed him for him to avoid.

Trump also asked that countries pledge help to crisis-racked Venezuela, calling for “the full restoration of democracy,” and singling out the nation’s leftward drift as the cause of its failings.

“The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented,” he said to scattered laughter.

Trump’s belligerent address earned at least one fan among heads of state: Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that he had not heard “a more courageous speech” in his 30 years at the U.N.

Trump Threatens to ‘Totally Destroy’ North Korea in Speech