In an interview with Fox Business that aired on April 12, President Trump declared that the United States was “sending an armada” to deal with the threat posed by the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s refusal to stop testing weapons.
“We are sending an armada. Very powerful,” Trump said.
Trump’s comments came on the heels of news reports that the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson strike group was headed toward North Korea — news seemingly confirmed by a strike group spokesman.
The day before Trump’s Fox Business interview aired, Press Secretary Sean Spicer also seemed to confirm the strike group was on the way to North Korea, saying during a news conference that “a carrier group is several things. The forward deployment is deterrence, presence. It’s prudent. But it does a lot of things. It ensures our — we have the strategic capabilities, and it gives the president options in the region.”
“But I think when you see a carrier group steaming into an area like that, the forward presence of that is clearly, through almost every instance, a huge deterrence,” he added. “So I think it serves multiple capabilities.”
News of the strike group’s proximity to North Korea contributed to an alarming NBC report that the U.S. military was “prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test.”
But turns out it was all false— the strike group wasn’t en route to North Korea last week after all.