Trump amplifies comments attacking North Korea, Mitch McConnell

Last Updated Aug 10, 2017 3:53 PM EDT

President Trump on Thursday amplified the comments he made threatening North Korea with "fire and fury," and attacking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

During a brief interaction with reporters while on his 17-day working vacation in Bedminster, New Jersey, Mr. Trump said his controversial statement Tuesday threatening North Korea perhaps "wasn't tough enough." On Tuesday during a meeting on the opioid crisis, Mr. Trump said that North Korea "will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."

"Frankly, the people who are questioning that statement, was it too tough? Maybe it wasn't tough enough." Mr. Trump said. "They've been doing this to our country for a long time - for many years, and it's about time someone stuck up for this country and for the people of other countries. So if anything, maybe that statement wasn't tough enough."

Mr. Trump dismissed claims that his administration's messages on North Korea are mixed, after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said people shouldn't be unsettled by recent rhetoric about North Korea. 

"There are no mixed messages" on North Korea, the president said. 

The president added that North Korea will be in trouble like perhaps no other country has been before, should it pursue nuclear aggression.

"I think China can do a lot more, yes, China can," Mr. Trump said. "And I think China will do a lot more. Look, we have trade with China. We lose hundreds of billions of dollars a year on trade with China. They know how I feel. It's not going to continue like that. But if China helps us, I feel a lot differently toward trade, a lot differently toward trade."

"So we will do – the people of our country are safe," the president continued. "Our allies are safe. And I will tell you this North Korea better get their act together or they're going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world."

But the president also had words of warning for McConnell, whom he has attacked on Twitter two days in a row for failing to repeal and replace Obamacare. Asked if McConnell should resign from his leadership position, the president said that if McConnell doesn't repeal and replace Obamacare, pass tax reform and fund infrastructure, "then you can ask me that question."

McConnell has indicated the Senate is done with attempting to tackle health care, at least in the foreseeable future. 

Some senators responded immediately to the attack.