President Donald Trump warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday that he has a nuclear "button" on his desk at all times and boasted that the US has "much bigger & more powerful" nuclear weapons -- a stunning threat that has once again raised questions over what it takes to actually launch a nuclear warhead. The tweet read, "North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the 'Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.' Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!" Trump tweeted. President Donald Trump’s Rant partly due to his frustration at his legal team for offering shifting timelines about when the Russia investigation would end. His tweets continued until Wednesday as Trump took down strategist Steve Bannon, who offered a scathing attack on Trump and his family's handling of the Russia investigation. His taunting tweet Tuesday evening directed at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, caught many top administration officials off guard and prompted renewed worry among staff and allies about whether the President fully comprehends the risks he's taking in provoking adversaries.
The image of the President with his finger on a "button" that is capable of initiating a nuclear strike has been used to symbolize the speed at which the process of such an order can be carried out for decades. Contrary to popular belief, the "nuclear football", or briefcase, which always accompanies a President does not contain a button, but instead has the equipment and the decision-making papers that Trump would use to authenticate his orders and launch a strike. The President alone, cannot press a button and cause missiles to fly. He can only give an authenticated order which others would follow and then missiles would fly," Dr. Peter Feaver, a professor of public policy and political science at Duke University, told congressional lawmakers last year. "The system is not a button that the President can accidentally lean on against the desk and immediately cause missiles to fly as some people in the public, I think, fear it would be." He added that the decision to launch a strike requires the President to work with military aides possessing the materials he needs to order an attack, from top commanders all the way down to service members working in the missile silos. Whether he is at the White House, in a motorcade, aboard Air Force One or on a trip overseas, Trump is never more than an arm's reach away as the aide carrying the football rides in the same elevator, stays on the same hotel floor and is protected by the same Secret Service agents. There is also a football for the vice president in case the President is incapacitated.