White House press secretary Sarah Sanders rebuked a Wall Street Journal journalist for sharing, without confirming, a report that mentioned a National Security Council official saying that a tactical strike on North Korea would be a good move, politically.
"Never happened," Sanders said in a terse tweet Friday night in response to Jonathan Cheng, who is the is the Seoul bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal.
She was reacting to Cheng's tweet earlier in the day, which included a link and a excerpt from Hankyoreh, a newspaper in South Korea.
The portion of the report that Cheng highlighted said: "White House National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs Matthew Pottinger was reported as saying in a recent closed-door meeting with US experts on Korean Peninsula issues that a limited strike on the North 'might help in the midterm elections.'"
It wasn't clear where the outlet got its information about Pottinger.
"Pottinger is a Marine who served in two wars and doesn’t take military action lightly," Sanders said in her tweet. "Can’t believe @WSJ reporter didn’t reach out for a comment before repeating such a reckless accusation."
Never happened. Pottinger is a Marine who served in two wars and doesn’t take military action lightly. Can’t believe @WSJ reporter didn’t reach out for a comment before repeating such a reckless accusation. https://t.co/B270jlqHUs— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) February 3, 2018
Recent reports have said that members of the Trump administration, including national security adviser H.R. McMaster, have advocated a so-called "bloody nose" strategy, in which the U.S. would strike North Korean facilities tied to its nuclear weapons and missile programs to put more pressure on the pariah nation to halt its belligerent ways to avoid a full-out war.
This week it was reported that President Trump's original pick for U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Victor Cha, was no longer being considered after disagreements with the administration’s policy on North Korea were privately expressed. Cha had raised concerns over the NSC's consideration of a “bloody nose” strategy.
However, U.S. officials denied to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency that there has been consideration of a "bloody nose" strategy.