The Associated Press reports:
President Donald Trump was speaking in his own words when he vowed to retaliate against North Korean aggression with “fire and fury,” but top advisers were aware of the tone he planned to strike, a White House spokeswoman said Wednesday, as the administration sought to provide clarity on its strategy on the Korean Peninsula.
“The words were his own,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders. But she added that “the tone and strength of the message were discussed beforehand” with advisers, including new chief of staff John Kelly.
The White House sought to provide more context to the president’s Tuesday statement at his New Jersey golf club, where he had convened a meeting on the opioid epidemic during his 17-day vacation.
Officials also stressed Wednesday that Trump and Kelly had been in conversations with members of the National Security Council before the president made the comments. They did not detail whom specifically Trump and Kelly spoke with.