That Time Trump Said He’d ‘Negotiate Like Crazy’ With North Korea… Back in 1999 (Video)

Nearly 20 years ago, the president was advocating “to sit down and really negotiate something”

Last Updated: August 9, 2017 @ 3:12 PM

An old clip from NBC’s “Meet the Press” in 1999 with Donald Trump as a guest has resurfaced online Wednesday after comments the president made that North Korea will be met “with fire and fury” if the country continues to threaten the United States.

Trump was singing a different tune nearly 20 years ago, however. “First I’d negotiate. I would negotiate like crazy, and I’d make sure we try to get the best deal possible,” Trump told NBC anchor Tim Russert, who asked if he would launch a preemptive strike on North Korea if he were president.

“If a man walks up and puts a gun to your head and says ‘give me your money,’ wouldn’t you rather know where he is coming from before he had the gun in his hand?” Trump said. “These people, in three or four years, are going to be having nuclear weapons, they’re going to have those weapons pointed all over the world, specifically at the United States.”

“We have a country out there, North Korea, which is sort of wacko, which is not a bunch of dummies, and they are going out, and they are developing nuclear weapons. And they’re not doing it because they’re having fun doing it, they’re doing it for a reason,” Trump continued. “And wouldn’t it be good to sit down and really negotiate something, ideally negotiate. Now if that negotiation doesn’t work, you’d better solve the problem now than solve it later. You know it, and every politician knows it, and nobody wants to talk about it.”

After Russert pointed out the devastation a nuclear attack could have on the Asian Peninsula, Trump said he was “not talking about us using nuclear weapons.”

“I’m saying we have to do something to stop,” he went on. “You want to do it in five years when they have warheads all over the place? One of them pointing to New York City, to Washington? Is that when you want to do it? Or do you want to do something now? Better do it now, and if they think you’re serious, I deal with lots of people, If they think you’re serious, then they’ll negotiate, and it’ll never come to that.”

Trump’s comments Tuesday came after news that North Korea has developed a miniaturized nuclear device that can fit on an intercontinental missile. The president reiterated his “fire and fury” rhetoric on Twitter Wednesday, saying, “My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before. Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”

Watch the full 1999 interview above. Russert was interviewing Trump at the time because he was changing from the Republican Party to the Reform Party.