The best. The biggest. The billion: President Trump speaks in the superlative. Anything but subtle, that style is all his own, and it was on full display in his response to North Korea.
Leader Kim Jong Un "best not make any more threats to the United States," Trump warned as the aggressive Asian nation threatened to attack Guam.
Pure Trump, the remarks were also reportedly off the cuff, a fact his critics have seized upon. Arizona Republican John McCain called them "confrontational," and pundits have slammed them as irresponsible. But in truth, history will record Trump's words as Truman-like.
After dropping a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, former President Harry Truman warned the Japanese people that anything less than surrender would ensure total destruction. "If they do not now accept our terms," he said on Aug. 6, 1945, "They may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the likes of which has never been seen on this earth."
Seventy-two years and exactly two days later, Trump echoed Truman almost word for word.
"He has been very threatening beyond a normal state," Trump warned. And if North Korean threats continue, he said, "they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before."
While Truman continued for more than 1,100 words, a shorter Trump used less than 100. Length aside, the message in both cases was clear: Ongoing hostility will be met with overwhelming military force.
Addressing reporters in Guam Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explained that Trump is "sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un would understand, because he doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language."
Of course, critics reply that Trump has been antagonizing the dictatorship and playing into the hands of its dictators by refusing to soften his speech with ambassadorial niceties. They also that Trump has an unfortunate habit of shooting his administration in the foot when he shoots from the hip. But so far, the North Koreans have gotten the message.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.