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Officials Feared Trump Would Declare War On North Korea

| by Jordan Smith

Officials at the Pentagon were concerned President Donald Trump was about to announce he had declared war on North Korea during a series of tweets July 27.

Trump ended up announcing that transgender people would not be allowed to serve in the military, according to Buzzfeed.

In his first tweet, Trump stated that he had consulted with "my generals and military experts." There was then a nine-minute pause before his second tweet appeared, during which time some Pentagon officials reportedly thought Trump may launch a military conflict.

BuzzFeed described officials as having been left in suspense, but did not say how senior these officials were.

Tensions have risen between Washington and Pyongyang over recent months, as North Korea has continued to test ballistic missiles and the U.S. has  carried out military exercises in South Korea.

North Korea launched its latest intercontinental ballistic missile July 28, prompting a sharp response from Trump. The president described the test as "reckless and dangerous," according to The Hill.

"By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people," Trump added.

According to South Korea's joint chiefs of staff, the missile launched marked a step forward from North Korea's previous ICBM test July 4.

"The altitude is about [2,300 miles] and the flying distance is about [620 miles]. It is estimated that it was a more advanced type of an ICBM compared to the previous one based on the range," the statement said, according to CNN.

Trump pledged that the U.S. would defend itself and its allies in the region.

Meanwhile, Trump's announcement on transgender personnel has left many questions unanswered, including whether the transgender personnel currently serving in the military will be able to continue to do so.

"The full implications of that tweet are to be determined," Brad Carson, who served as Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness from 2015 to 2016, told Buzzfeed. "My read of it is that it appears that those currently serving transgender troops will be forced out."

Defense Secretary James Mattis is currently on vacation and it is not clear if he supported Trump's announcement. In June, Mattis declared a six-month delay in the opening of the military to transgender recruits, which was originally planned to to have begun July 1.

Laila Villanueva, a former corporal who is now retired, is a transgender woman married to Logan Ireland, a transgender man currently serving in the military.

"They are getting phone calls and getting called into command teams and being told, 'Don't worry, nothing official has come down yet'," Villanueva told Buzzfeed.

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