During a brief statement along with a question and answer session with White House pool reporters on Tuesday, President Trump addressed North Korea’s recent missile test launch across the Sea of Japan. The videotaped session, which was not broadcast live, also included Defense Secretary James Mattis, who provided reporters with some details about the missile test. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were also in attendance, and they joined Trump in discussing the GOP’s tax bill and Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s decision to skip the meeting.
Regarding North Korea’s recent test, Trump declared, “we will take care of it”:
“As you’ve probably heard, and some of you have reported, a missile was launched a little while ago from North Korea. I will only tell you that we will take care of it. We have Gen. Mattis in the room with us, and we’ve had a long discussion on it. It is a situation that we will handle.”
When asked to brief those present, Mattis described the object launched by North Korea as an “intercontinental ballistic missile,” or ICBM. “It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they’ve taken. It’s a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that could threaten everywhere in the world, basically.”
As for Schumer and Pelosi’s absence, Trump repeated many of the same criticisms he first aired in his Tuesday morning tweet — the very thing that inspired the Democrats to skip the meeting. “I’m not really that surprised. We have a lot of differences. They’re weak on crime, they’re weak on illegal immigration, they want the illegal folks to come pouring into our border,” he said. Later, when a reporter asked what would happen should Schumer and Pelosi’s efforts manage to successfully stall or kill the tax bill, the president said, “If that happens, I would absolutely blame the Democrats.” Watch the full clip below.