President Trump's button-measuring contest with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday night sparked dark jokes and genuine concern about the possibility of nuclear war. But are articles about the "nuclear war tweet heard 'round the world" exaggerating? CNN's Jake Tapper didn't seem to think so when he appeared on The Lead on Tuesday night, calling Trump's response to Kim's threats something "the world has frankly never before heard from an American president."
Tapper then ominously quoted former President John F. Kennedy: "Every man, woman, and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness." Tapper didn't dance around his concerns, though, adding that "it may be difficult for those of you at home to wrap your minds around a U.S. president who makes statements like this about the use of nuclear weapons, which would of course murder millions of people."
Other anchors and analysts also reacted to Trump's tweet with shock. On Today, NBC national security analyst Jeremy Bash said "this is a tweet that could lead to confrontation and maybe even war." On MSNBC, Lawrence O'Donnell called the tweet proof that the president is "unfit to serve." Speaking to CNN's Anderson Cooper, Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) offered a different perspective: "We've gotten to a weird place where it really doesn't matter what the president of the United States says anymore, because it's so bizarre, strange, not true."
But it was Tapper who summed up Trump's tweet with a grim reminder: "None of this [is] normal, none of this [is] acceptable, none of this [is] — frankly — stable behavior," he said.