Speaking in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday afternoon, President Trump told a gathering of reporters that reaching a diplomatic solution with North Korea remained the nation's priority and that military force was "not the preferred option."
The comments came after Trump was asked about recent remarks by North Korea's foreign minister, who claimed Monday that the president had 'declared war' on North Korea with several of his recent tweets.
President Trump said the United States was "totally prepared" for military action against North Korea if it was ever deemed necessary, a claim later supported on Capitol Hill by the country's highest-ranking military officer.
"Based on the current capacity of the North Koreans, the current threat – so both the type of the threat and the amount of missiles that they possess – we can protect Hawaii today against an (intercontinental ballistic missile), we can protect the continental United States against an ICBM," said Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Dunford was questioned as part of his reconfirmation hearing and was also asked about Hawaii's military role across the Pacific.