President Donald Trump's provocative tweets against North Korea are alarming White House officials -- but they're anonymously complaining to reporters instead of taking public action.
The president apparently reacted to a Fox News report about Kim Jong-Un by boasting that his "Nuclear Button" was bigger and more potent than the North Korean leader's, and the tweet was just as alarming inside the White House as it was elsewhere, reported Axios.
"Every war in history was an accident," one administration insider told the website's co-founder, Mike Allen. "You just don't know what's going to send him over the edge."
Allen made clear the insider was referring to Trump being close to the edge.
"This is the most important issue on the president's desk," one outside adviser to the West Wing told Axios. "We are in a hair-trigger environment, and this is potentially a shooting war with nuclear risk."
Trump insiders cautioned Allen that the media tends to overanalyze the president's social media outbursts, saying he often thoughtlessly lashed out on Twitter just to stir controversy.
But White House insiders also pointed out that the risk of war with North Korea was actually higher than most outsiders realized, and the outside adviser questioned Trump's social media provocations in this context.
"What intel analysis or foreign policy advice leads to employing this as a tactic?" the outside adviser said.
The anonymously voiced concerns fits a pattern of Republicans questioning Trump's fitness in private but taking virtually no public action to hold him accountable.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough has been saying for months that GOP lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, question the president's mental stability and competence in private conversations but "debase" themselves by publicly backing him.
“The very people on the stage saying those things are the ones quietly behind the scenes telling every reporter that will listen to them how embarrassed they are to be associated with him — every one of them,” Scarborough recently said. “They roll their eyes, they mock him, they’re humiliated to be associated with that man. Then they go out and get behind the microphone and say (praise his leadership).”
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) voiced his deep concerns about Trump during an October interview with the New York Times, but since then he has backed the president's agenda.